Cars Longa, Vita Brevis
The varnished dashboard long ago was chipped,
The tarnished mascot wobbles in the wind,
The leather seats irreparably cracked,
The sports saloon slides slowly to its end.
Driven by a smelly, surly youth,
Whose cigarette dangles from his mouth,
Rainfall leaks in through the sunshine roof:
Need approaching death be so uncouth?
The wireless, a tactless new accretion,
Blaring raucous sounds of roll and rock.
Could not the youth have exercised discretion
Before he plonked that liquid diode clock
On the dashboard with veneereal disease?
As for the sunstrip, may I ask you please
Avert your eyes? Predictably inane,
It implies that Kevin loves Elaine.
From some way off, I saw the paving stone;
Unlike the others (uniformly grey),
It was flecked, no, splodged a lurid brown.
An artist had been working there that day.
A pavement artist – but not those prostitutes
Who daub with sickly pinky pastel layers
Twee girls in tears, or laughing cavaliers,
The sort of thing that sells quite well at Boots.
No, someone closer to the mother terre,
A mongrel or perhaps une chienne bergère;
From the stool, I ought to know the school.
Sienna coloured, Sienese in feel,
The voided solids ooze tactile appeal.
Organic forms like this sweet, steaming sculpture,
Reflections of our vibrant, cross-bred culture.
Tesco Blues, Or The Failure Of Fabian Socialism
Muesli, Perrier, high-fibre bread,
Rocket lettuce, beanshoots… chocolate spread!
A member of the mixed up bourgeoisie,
My check-out bag reveals the inner me.
Guiltily, I move towards the till,
Wondering which one of them will
Have the shortest queue – this one will do…
Bloody hell, as usual I am wrong,
The queue that seemed the shortest turns out long
Because that wretch’s cheque must be endorsed.
And so, against our wills, we all are forced
To wait politely (with concealed oaths).
The check-out queue’s the worst thing since sliced loaves!
How to while away my wasted time,
Without committing some appalling crime?
I lay down my telescopic brolly,
Then gaze upon my neighbours’ sordid trolley:
Eggs (two dozen)
Chicken (ready frozen)
Sliced ‘Mother’s Pride’
Bold – washes white!
Six instant whips
Large potato chips
Coke for the kids…
I musn’t lecture them, I must behave;
Be English! Then occurs to me the thought
Had they just seen what those oiks have bought,
Sidney and Beatrice would turn in their graves.
Lucky things! They didn’t need to know.
Lucky things! They checked out years ago.
Our Daily Bread
O Vogel, you deeply move me
More than mere words can convey.
You arouse profoundest emotions
Twice – nay thrice – every day.
Till I met you, and ate you, I wasted
My fatuous, uncouth youth
But thanks to you, sweetest Vogel,
I’m a virile Kiwi, forsooth!
My love-bites they quickly consume you
O Vogel, you sensuous bread.
My love, my life, my loaf, my knife…
Allow me to eat you in bed!
When not busy napping on Parnassus, Dr. Stocker writes books and articles on Victorian public monuments, numismatics and New Zealand art.
The image shows, Mixed Flowers in an Urn,” by Terence Loudon, ca. 1940.