Foul language

You must not cuss
at the Job Centre Plus

Neither should you swear
at the Pull & Bear

Do not eff or blind
in a branch of Mind

And utter no profanity
In an HMV

Now, they mainly sell posters and T-shirts there,

But still, watch your fucking language, yeah?


Since moving to london I have been an avid bus rider (which is a bit like being Knight Rider given that similar to KIIT buses do talk to you in a robotic voice via their announcements).

Anyway, here are some couplets I’ve composed over the years about the various routes I’ve taken. If anyone from TfL is reading this do feel free to incorporate them into the onboard announcements for each route.

Feeling naughty
On the number 40

In the mix
On the 176

I come alive
On the 185

So fresh, so clean
On the P13

Halfway to heaven
On the 197

Heroes unsung
On the 171

Beyond my ken
On the 410

Can you guess from the above whereabouts I live and have lived in London?

Open Windows

The view from this window will linger
long after the tenancy ends
on this flat-bound
locked down year.

I sit and stare from this window
at a cat facing their own front door,
as trains slide in and out of the station
to and from the city’s depths,
with laboured, whirring, mechanical breath.

I sit and stare from this window,
as many have and do – it’s nothing new!

You know they sit and stare
in places where idle time is a welcome break
from back-breaking labour.
Not in endless supply,
to plaster over with
mocked up, locked down busyness:
calls, catch-ups, one-to-ones,
Zoom quizzes, cocktails, online ‘fun’.

I sit and stare from this window,
a faceless form caught up
in someone else’s view, perhaps.
Or more likely, no one’s looking.

London I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

Something for the fruit flies;

something for the pain:

a little pill – 20mg

to get me through each day.


Another rat has appeared

dead beneath the sink;

I sink into my overdraft

to get my round of drinks.


Now my body doesn’t look

like a young man’s does

from sitting in an office,

two hours on the bus.


So when will I grow up,

and what will I become?

Being twenty in your thirties

is not really so much fun.

Encrypted Moments

You said on a certain site
that you missed
a certain someone.
Your friends replied with jokes
I didn’t understand.
Was it your new boo
one of them mentioned,
a week or so ago?

That writing on your wall
took me somewhere unfamiliar:
a metropolis,
high rises towering,
windowpanes reflective,
security guards stood sentry
in opulent doorways.

Do they look out inside?
I cannot see them.
Yet fortunes
have been made,
from the words
we have all written.

I long for something true.
Like your hot tears
on my naked back,
the first time
I tried to end things
between us.

No one knows
how that felt
except the me
that was with you
in those encrypted moments,
that sped by
at fibre-optic speed,
one by one by one.