Category Archives: humor

Stiff Upper Lip

bouquet-4356697_960_720

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We Brits
prioritise
excretory hygiene
over finding food to spoon between our
stiff
upper
lips,
perhaps forgetting that if nothing
goes in one end, the other end
tends to become
redundant.

To clarify; toilet rolls
were the first target of panic buyers.

Only when the bits that we hide
between butt-cheeks and thighs were ensured
of a year’s supply of snowy wipes
did we think to mind
our
Ps
and
Qs;
Shoppers scraped up
every scrap of Potato, Pasta, Paracetamol… and
— being a nation of animal lovers —
Purina Pet Phood.
By the time I set out
for my fresh supply of modest gruel
the shelves were stripped of Quorn, Quark
and Quail’s Eggs.

(Note the poetic liberty; to my knowledge,
Lidl shops don’t stock Quails eggs)

fortunately, there were lots of bouquets
since we were warned away from floral displays
on UK’s flayed Mothers’ Day.

Last night, my
tulip bourguignon was a flop.
The vase-water gravy might have been
a grave mistake. I won’t go wrong with tonight’s recipe;
chrysanthemum bolognese lightly sprinkled
with kibbled gypsophila.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Zero Hours Contract

Gawd save us from the clutches of the gory Tory crew.
Britannia boasts of glory but its roots is rotted froo.

They introduced austerity for us wot ‘ad the least,
An’ while suicide was risin’ they ‘ad cheek to feast;
They stole the rights of workers til they matched the EU low,
But when us leaves the EU, what rights that’s left will go.

I lives from ‘and to mouth and I don’t know what to do
Cos I’m on a zero contract and me hours is far an’ few.
From time tuh time they calls me up an’ asks if I am free
I jump froo ‘oops to get there when the call centre calls me.

Gawd save us from the reaches of the greedy Tory scum
Who fill their plates with tasty treats an’ don’t give us a crumb.

I cancels me appointments wiv the doctor and the bank
Me pain and plans for bankrup’sy mus’ take a lower rank.
I tips me scalding slops away into me chipped-up sink
An’ run to catch a bus, cos me moped’s on the blink.

I wipes me nose and shivers in a chilly room
An’ all the time I’m on the phone me mind’s all doom and gloom.
I worry ’bout the NHS, an’ p’licin’ an’ the rest,
An’ the way that education fails at every test.

Gawd save us from the knuckles of the nasty Tory louts.
Whose silver-spoon advantages keep the riff-raff out.

I miss the last bus back an’ ‘ave to walk ‘ome in the rain,
They tells me I am lucky an’ I really can’t complain.
At least you’ve got a job, they says, but what they doesn’t see
Is that them what isn’t workin’ is better off than me.

Me mortgage isn’t paid and they say I’ll be evicted,
I can’t afford me water and a trip to court’s predicted.
I buy short-dated bacon, and the filthy lower brands
But the council tax is owin’, and I’m gettin’ red demands.

Gawd save us from the bludgeons of the bastard Tory bunch
We subsists on wat’ry soup while they eats steak for lunch.

I’ve only got one light bulb and me oven’s up the creek,
There’s water on me lino ‘cos a pipe has sprung a leak.
Me central ‘eating’s buggered and me bum is blue from cold
I’d go an’ sell me body, ‘cept me mirror says I’m old.

The work’ouses is gone, so that only leaves the street
An’ beggin’ for the stinkin’ rich to give us scraps to eat.
If they ha’n’t taken ev’rythin’ it wouldn’t be this way;
Though Thatchers dead, her policies live on to this day.

Gawd save us from the throwbacks of the lackey Tory pack.
Thatcher’s gang puts paid to all our efforts to turn back.

Soon I’m gonna exercise my democratic right
to say which side I wanna win a parliamentary fight.
Let’s chuck out all the Tories and ignore the libby dems,
whose opportunist antics in’t meant for us, but them.

The single issue Brexit party’s dodgy to the core,
and UKIP’s stingy racism’s a stance that I abhor,
and while I is impressed by our Jeremy’s ideals
them blue-striped Blairites in the pack is jammin’ up the wheels.

Gawd save us from the clutches of the gory Tory crew.
Britannia boasts of glory but its roots is rotted froo.

So you see there’s several parties takin’ part in this ‘ere race
from left to right to centre and a heap o’ about-face,
but the planet needs some lovin’ care as we all ‘ave seen,
so on the 12th December I’ll be voting Green.

 

©Jane Paterson Basil

24 Carat Gold

In dreams
I create a work of art, a three-dimensional protest against the British TV licencing Mafia-wannabes, and submit it to the Turner Prize Competition.

In dreams
I have acquired a boxy, out-dated television set, smashed the screen, arranged the shards to poke out at artistic angles from the frame like half-open windows, and covered every inch of the TV with all the letters I’ve received from the TV licencing bullies.

(In reality their letters of demand have been shoved through my door every few weeks for the past fifty-three months. Each one is addressed to “The Legal Occupier”. They promise visits, but never show. They threaten to take me to court, but they can’t; they don’t know my name, which is unfortunate, since, if they did, I would simply tell the judge that I don’t possess a TV, don’t watch BBC on my laptop or phone. I would say I had chosen not to waste time explaining that to my accusers, since all the letters insult me by clearly stating that they might not believe me).

In dreams,
a vintage towel roller lurks beside the TV, its stained towel printed with my perceived human rights and my complaints against the TV Licencing Company. This declaration is repeated one hundred times. Visitors to the Tate Modern are invited to pull the towel around the roller. The writing covers the whole towel. Since it is written backwards, a mirror faces the towel roller, but the mirror reflects nothing; it is coated with tar.

‘Cos, hey,
like,
this is Art, man –
gotta get the punters describing arcs with hands and arms,
stroking chins, discussing
the deeper meaning, chiming in, interrupting, pontificating,
claiming they get
what the artist is saying.

In dreams,
I am both artist and finishing touch; the component which makes the artwork whole. I stroll up to viewers as they intellectualise, a couple of twigs in my hair, sporting a torn brown coat decorated with drips of dried egg yolk and particles of synthesised vomit, swigging a half-drunk bottle of White Lightening while juggling six loaded carrier bags, one of which conceals a few fetid kippers. In my broadest Devon accent, I pipe up:

“You’m all talkin’ bollox. An allegory for the ‘uman condition? A metaphor fer the failure of society? Wot you on about? Looks like the artist was pissed off wi’ them robbin’ TV scumbags, but it ain’t art. Fart, more like.”

(In dreams,
I consider giving a demonstration, providing I can summon a respectable quantity of wind, but it’s not really my style, so I scrap the plan. In any case, since I would be repeating the action over and over for the duration of the exhibition, it would require me to eat mountains of beans in order to insure success, and I don’t relish the pain that would accompany digestion.)

In dreams
I offer them my card, revealing only the side which has my thumbprint on it. It looks filthy, revolting, like I’ve stamped it on with faeces. Most folks hold their hands over their noses, turn away in disgust, shake their heads, refusing it. Only the most shy or polite of visitors to the Tate modern take them, gingerly plucking one from my grubby hand, pinching the outermost corner. When they turn the cards over, they see my signature, written in black ink that has been laced with 24 carat gold. They look up in astonishment, but I’ve gone.

In dreams,
I win the Turner Prize.

Ten years later one of those cards sells at auction for £30,000.

In dreams.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Stapelia

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Stapelia, Stapelia, your beauty makes me sigh,
yet I fear precipitation might be drawing nigh.
Stapelia, Stapelia, how marvellous your bloom,
but a sickly stench of carrion invades my living room.
Stapelia, Stapelia, do you have no shame?
I sense I’m going to vomit, and your flower must take the blame.

Stapelia Variegata bears lovely blooms – but they stink like rotting meat. My plant has lots of buds. I can’t help admiring her… from a distance.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Thank You, Litterman 6

I would like to publicly thank Litterman 6, for pulling me out of my torpor by sending me a marvelous response to a poem I wrote some months back, entitled Litter.

Read this and weep – or laugh – or snore; whatever lights your boat or floats your candle.

A *minasqual amount of McDonalds packaging is carelessly disposed of by uncaring consumers who by the way are PIGS your response to the problem is a brain dead poem that excludes the other offenders Keep working on it at least you are one that CARES as I do
Coming soon to all Mc Donald’s Location is an new tool that will make it easy, fast and the safest way to collect-contain-control the trash that gets away I know because I invented it Watch out for the Litterator our super heroes LITTER AVENGERS and our mascot EZZY our Litterator Gator ” BE HAPPY DON’T WORRY’

*I assume he means miniscule.

Is it a bird, is it a bee, is it a troll, or is it a sincere man whose main ambition in life is to eradicate litter? I dunno, since I, apparently, don’t have two brain cells to rub together. However, the one brain cell I do possess is unusually hard-working. Forty years ago – long before recycling programmes got underway – I knew that the solution was not to throw all our toxic plastics and polystyrene in a green box so that the council could sling it onto landfill sites or incinerate it. What we needed to do was to stop producing and purchasing the waste and to re-use what we can – for example, glass bottles, which should be returned to drinks factories to be refilled.

I applaud dear Mr Litterman’s efforts to tidy up our planet. He’s performing an essential function. It’s sad that after so many years of recycling we haven’t moved further forward, but as long as we continue to waste our resources and stamp carbon all over the place, the Litterman family are the nearest we’ve got to saviours.

Perhaps I owe my readers an apology. My poem focuses entirely on McDonalds. It fails to mention any of the other culprits. It also ignores car emissions, poverty, starvation, war, suicide and the mess brought about by misuse of drugs. These too, are serious issues.

And ingrown toenails. With the correct trimming technique, they are a largely avoidable problem – or so I’m told.

However, it would appear that, like me, Litterman has a vendetta against McDonalds, since he, also, seems to be targetting them with his ‘new tool’. Or am I deliberately misunderstanding him, as he did me?

If you are reading this, Litterman 6, I’d like to thank you again. As many of my readers know, I have overcome many difficulties my life, but my experience of the past few months drew me into such a deep depression that I was unable even to compose my usual brain-dead poetry, and yet your amusing message has pulled me back into orbit. You have saved me. Is it too soon to tell you I love you? Should I wait until you have invited me to view your private blog?

I’d like us to be friends. We could have so much fun hurling veiled insults at each other across the ether.

On a serious note; although you come across as a single-minded half-wit, I accept the possibility that you are a genius.

But that sliver of suspicion doesn’t stop me from grinning as I hone my disposable plastic knife.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Yellow newlyweds and greedy breeders

ATTENTION! ATTENTION!

THESE POEMS WERE GENERATED

BY A CRAZY MACHINE.

NOT BY ME!

While I was searching for a useful tool for helping to shape concrete poetry (which seems to have vanished without trace) I found a free poem generator, so just for fun, I gave it a go. After selecting the free verse option I was asked to type in three words. The generator chewed on my words for a moment, then requested a further three, related to three new words it had spat back at me.

In no time at all it coughed out this strange list of phrases:

Greed

The drive that’s really climb,
Above all others is the ardent ambition.
Artistic, ardent ambition.
Does the ardent ambition make you shiver?
does it?

An astonishing avidity, however hard it tries,
Will always be eagerness.
Does the astonishing avidity make you shiver?
does it?

Better breeding is multiplying.
multiplying is better breeding.
Does the better breeding make you shiver?
does it?

Anyone who knows me well will be aware that I go in for overkill. Here’s the hilarious second poem it wrote for me, inspired by a different set of word prompts. I expected it to be romantic…

Marriage

A wonderful wedding, however hard it tries,
Will always be celebration.
Wonderful wedding.
Does the wonderful wedding make you shiver?
does it?

The unify that’s really married,
Above all others is the warm wed.
Now ringed is just the thing,
To get me wondering if the warm wed is marital.

yellow, nervous newlyweds sings like romantics
Nervous newlyweds are yellowish. nervous newlyweds are irrational,
nervous newlyweds are chickenhearted, however.

So there you have it: nervous newlyweds sings like romantics. However, in addition to their skin being yellow – a point that is repeated in case you weren’t paying full attention – their hearts come from chickens.

Finally, I requested rhyming couplets. For this I was asked to submit a larger group of words. The resulting rhyme is… unusual. I was hoping for a poem about a road-sweeper and a psychiatrist. Maybe that’s what this is; it’s hard to tell.

See the laughing of the shunter,
I think he’s angry at the hunter.

He finds it hard to see the blouse,
Overshadowed by the angry dormouse.

Who is that screaming near the broom?
I think she’d like to eat the elbowroom.

She is but a black analyst,
Admired as she sits upon an annalist.

Her shameful car is just a prescription,
It needs no gas, it runs on subscription.

She’s not alone she brings a baccy,
a pet beaver, and lots of laxey.

The beaver likes to chase an alternation,
Especially one that’s in the association.

The shunter shudders at the hilarious armadillo
He want to leave but she wants the morillo.

Maybe it’s better at haiku, but I don’t have the heart to find out.

 

shiver (2)

 

In case you feel like playing silly buggers, here’s a link to the generator. If you do, don’t be mean; please share the results.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Piffle

naked-pun

Once

a pun a time

saved nine

~~!~~

 Written for the Word of the Day Challenge: Piffle, I present to you part 1 of a 1 part series of short poetry. Each part highlights a single aspect of the nonsense embodied by the word Piffle.

This is both the first and the last poem in a short series which is too sad to make a sandwich, or even to be buttered. It curls alone on the plate, drying to a crisp while readers glance toward it, then look away quickly, embarrassed to witness the shame of this small, tragic pun.

“Take pity,” croaks Pun, its eyes growing hazy, but Pity has changed its name to Party and is celebrating the excellence of metaphor, meter and rhyme. It’s drunk too much wine and has no time for humble Pun, who disconsolately chews a few crumbs of humble pie, a single tear falling from its eye. Just when I think it is losing consciousness, it catches sight of me. It points the withered tail of its P in my direction, and with its dying breath it cries:

“She’s to blame. She made me.”

Fortunately nobody is listening. They’re either at the party, enjoying great poetry, or this nonsense has lulled them to sleep.

I see my mistake now, but I think I’ve got away with it. The poem should say:

Once

a pun in time

saved nine.

THAT makes perfect sense.

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 ©Jane Paterson Basil

Miscalculation

Or

bad-idea-words

Inebriation
Flirtation
Assignation
Sensation
Titillation
Lubrication
Elation
Vibration
Gyration
Deflation
Cessation
Frustration
Castration
Prostration
Hospitalisation
Recrimination
Investigation
Litigation
Mitigation?
Erectile emigration vexation

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Written for the Word of the Day Challenge: Investigation

Inspired by Nestle Five Boys Chocolate

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©Jane Paterson Basil

From the Horse’s Mouth

gathering

I ‘spect you ‘eard the rumours back then, but you can’t set too much store by Chinese whispers. I know exactly what ‘appened that day, since I was practically there. See, my mum used to chat with Sally, the fishmonger’s wife, when she went to get our lovely fresh cod of a Friday, and Cuthbert – her ‘usband – well, ‘e used to deliver fish, regular, to the Royal Kitchen. He got quite pally with the Royal Cook, Sally’s Cuthbert did. Oh yes, he moved with the cream of society, ‘er Cuthbert, what with goin’ round to all the best ‘ouses an’ mixin’ with all the best cooks in the realm, an’ all. He was a nice chap so they all made allowances for the smell. Anyroad*, the Royal Cook got the story from the kitchen maid who got it from the chambermaid, who got it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. That’s right; the lady-in-waiting ‘erself, who was peaking round the door just after it ‘appened.

So, like I said, I was practically there at the time, and this is ‘ow it went:

The girl ‘ad been tossing and turning all night – couldn’t sleep a wink by all accounts. The palace was getting ready to celebrate since it looked like she’d passed the test, but now she was turning a nasty shade of green an’ ‘aving difficulty breathing. The king ‘appened by, and he saw it and summoned the lady-in waiting, who called for the chambermaid, who ran to find the courtier, who rushed for the physician.

The doctor examined the girl, then wrung ‘is ‘ands, like they does when the king looks at ’em, and mumbled something about balls.

“Speak up, man, and moderate your language, or I’ll order the guards to cut off your head,” cried the king. Just like that, an’ I wouldn’t put it past ‘im. I could tell you some tales would make your hair stand on end, but me lips is sealed.

The physician gathered up ‘is wits and spoke more clear. “Your majesty,” says ‘e, “there hhis no cure for this lady’s hhallergy. I fear the worst. If only Hhi had had been hhinformed, Hhi would have recommended a golf ball and a dozen extra mattresses instead.”

(Physicians is trained to talk proper, for all their funny ideas about leaches and blood-letting. They knows where the aitches is meant to go.)

Just then, the girl sits up like some knight ‘as stuck a red-hot lance up ‘er unmentionables, gives a scream, and collapses as if dead, poor dear. The worst of it was, when she fell back so sudden like, the pile of mattresses started wobbling, and before you know it, she’s rolled out of them and plummeted all the way to the floor like a bloomin’ bag o’ teddies*.

Oh, bless, don’t go upsetting yourself, dearie – I’m sure she didn’t feel nothin’, but like I was about to say, next thing,  all them mattresses got to slippin’ an’ slidin’, and before you know it, the floor’s plastered in ’em. By the time the dust settled, she was buried up to her neck – just lying there underneath those stuffed wodges of striped ticking, with only one pale arm sticking out like the dead end of an amputee party or what-all.

And what did they see but that little green pea, released from its feathery prison, rolling across the floor, like it didn’t have a care in the world. ‘Course, it was quickly absolved of that notion, since the dog – I forgot to tell you about the dog; there was a dog asleep in the corner of the room, an’ it’d managed to sleep through having a mattress land on its back, but it must have ‘eard the pea, makin’ its way across the royal rug, takin’ a straight line between two of them puffy mattresses. The daft dog musta thought it was a rabbit or what-have-you. It was up and on the pea like lightnin’. In a blink, the evidence o’ cause o’ death was down ‘is gullet.

So then the prince come ambling in, with that clipboard they made for him from the last o’ the gold what ‘is previous wife had woven out of straw. I’m talking about his second wife, mind. I ‘spect you ‘eard about the first one, who broke an old glass slipper, trying to prove that her feet were the same size as back when they first started courting. Turned out they wasn’t. She’d bled to death, which was a shame, ‘cos she was pretty, but ‘e married again.

The second marriage had started off awright, what with all them roomfuls of gold and all – bound to make you ‘appy, seems to me – but pretty soon it was all around the palace that his wife was ‘avin’ an affair with a short ugly bloke with a bad temper, who kept comin’ out with strange rhymes an’ wouldn’t tell anyone his name, and if you ask me,  I’d say the rumours was true; she weren’t no better than she shoulda been.

Well, that’s another story, and I’m not one to gossip, but it’s worth a mention since it was ‘cos of ‘er that they weren’t taking no chances this time. The next one ‘ad to be a proper princess – the thing they tried with the glass shoe ended in tears, and they didn’t want any more of that hobnobbing with commoners who makes ‘oles in the floorboards and disappears down ’em before you can cite them as just cause for divorce. See, it’s not like they wanted to behead her – they’d rather have done it the nice way, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Not that they was beggars; they was royals, but still.

Getting back to the prince; the shock of seeing the grisly scene before ‘im give ‘im a bit of a start and his bowler ‘at slid down over ‘is eyes. Did I mention the bowler? ‘E liked to wear it for official stuff like checkin’ for the authenticity of princesses – reckoned it gave ‘im an official air; professional like, along with ‘is important clipboard with its long checklist of names of all the virgins in the realm what claimed to be princesses – or was it all the princesses in the realm what claimed to be virgins?

None of us was sure, but no matter.

Regaining ‘is balance an’ dignity, ‘e slid the bowler back into place an’ stepped over to what he could see of the young woman. Kneeling down, ‘e reached toward her slender ‘and. By all accounts, it looked like a romantic what-‘ave-you, till ‘e pressed a finger to her wrist, where the pulse should ‘ave bin. He looked up at the doctor, ‘oo avoided his eyes, and then at his father, the king, ‘oo rewarded ‘im with a “you win some, you lose some’ kind of a shrug.

Smartly getting up from ‘is knees – princes is good at that kind of thing; standing and sitting and generally moving graceful like dancers, it’s their upbringing, you know – ‘e pulled a pencil from beneath his silk doublet, licked the end and neatly crossed ‘er name off the list.

Written for 3TC: Mattress, Golf ball, Green

*anyroad: anyway

*teddies: a regional name for potatoes.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Last Laugh

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I got a soggy dog-lick-kiss, breakfast on a tray
with the dreaded birthday sentence: Fifty years today.
Gifts enshrined in angry bills, ring box on a tin can,
and on the bed beside me, my oh, so funny man.

I wouldn’t touch my breakfast; the tea was weak and cold,
the bread was stale, the marmalade thickly furred with mould.
I unwrapped all the presents; fake poo and inked perfume,
I threw aside a birthday card, then marched out of the room.

He chased me to the kitchen; he knelt on knobbly knees
to offer me the ring box, said: Please don’t be a tease.
He looked so hurt and serious I thought he was sincere.
I’m glad I chose to take it, or he would still be here.

I carefully prised it open, expecting glittery bling,
but in that stupid jewellery box there was no diamond ring;
no long-denied proposal, no promise from my champ –
curled amidst the velvet was a grubby postage stamp.

I glared at him in fury, but he waved my rage away,
and laughing shrilly, said to me: It’s for a holiday.
Climb into this box, I’ll add the stamp and the address
of any destination, North, South, East or West.

It might be midlife crisis, but I’m weary of his humour;
I wished a heart attack on him, or a most aggressive tumour,
so feeling thus disgruntled, I shot him through the head.
He’s curled up in an outsize box, not joking now he’s dead.

I’m posting him to Timbuctoo, with no return address,
So I will never get him back, and I’ll suffer no redress.
It’s funny what you think of, when you scrub a bloody floor,
kitchen units and two windows, one kitten and a door:

We met on Friday the thirteenth, an unlucky day for me,
but the thirteenth has returned; how unlucky now is he!
I don’t regret the past, and there’s something I will miss;
I’d like to give him one last breath and see him laugh at this.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Written for Three Things Challenge: thirteen, midlife crisis, past

©Jane Paterson Basil