We follow the travelling path
Criss-crossed by dust midden
Cool rain she brought us
Like pale sleep walkers
Strange figures in tall bald coal towers

Growing damp or dry throated
With the tapping of crickets
Our tears grow like melons
As one with the river
Carving our grief under blue spider tree

We bed down with horizon
And rest with night spirit
Footstep on footstep
Deep in earth basin
Wake we with weringerong

Then sun, slap our heads
With the back of her hand
Hollow beetle hushing
Running through brush
Feather rock-wish we free like he

We are flowers in sun
Our words, leaves in wind
Our grief is dry resin
In the shades of our footsteps
In the river’s silent tears


The Bottolist

I’m a famous Bottolist
I study bottles
I built a hide to watch em
There’s a nest near the nettles.

I’ve been watching for weeks!
I call him Speck
He’s the Alpen male
Other Bottolists may notice
The speck on his neck.

The one over there
With the crack in her side
I call that one Sal
She’s their main hunter,
Oh look a rare sight of her catching a snail!
It’s doomed once inside.

They seem to be nocturble
Sociable within family groups
Other Bottelists will be aware
That nests sometimes called Dumps
Can be found every where
In small pockets of rubbish

Note: Dumps are built mainly
From paper, old rugs and roots

I haven’t yet caught a sniff, of any youngsters
They must keep them in burrows under the ground
They don’t move much, but if your lucky
You might just catch one flying over the fence


Muddy Indigestion

It is not of course a pleasant experience to be swallowed by a crocodile, but if one is swallowed whole, it is some small consolation.

Once Talic had got over the shock and his eyes had adjusted to the light, he found that being eaten was not nearly as unpleasant as he’d imagined. Admittedly the crocodile’s throat had a nasty smell, a sort of mixture of dead fish and muddy indigestion and the floor beneath his feet was slippery and revolting: but at least the large sharp teeth he’d passed on the way hadn’t chopped him into pieces or removed anything of any great importance.

At last clinging to some slimy sticks and bits lodged here and there he managed to stand upright. Trickling beneath him was a sort of river, not a green gold river like the one Talic had just been paddling in. This was a foul, steaming, unwholesome bile.

Now Talic knew he was in a fix and no mistake. Miserably he imagined his mother’s horror when she found just his toy ship and shoes on the riverbank.

Additionally his tummy began to make an uncomfortable growling noise, how long ago his breakfast seemed. His mouth watered at the thought of his mother’s freshly baked corn cakes dipped in milk and honey and he felt empty and lonely.

Miserably he felt around, something cold and wet brushed past him. He stretched into the darkness with his fingers and grasped a bristly piece of twine. Winding it around his wrist he gripped the slimy floor with his bare feet and pulled hard. Suddenly with a jerk the twine came loose and down, down he fell, into the sludgy river.

Thrown this way and that he bumped along making little grunts and yelps of pain, which echoed around the walls and ceiling.
For a while all he could think about was how to avoid the slippery sides and bottom; and all the trailing bits hanging down.
Then in the distance over the greedy sucking noises of the water he heard another voice.

“Heeeeeeeeeeeloooooow!” it said “Heeeeeeeeeeeloooooow where are yooou?”

Talic’s heart thumped loudly. What if he had survived this only to be eaten by a river demon?
Granny Gihani was always talking about river demons and how they stole small children and cooked them to make spells.

But as he came closer, the voice became so small and ordinary that he began to think that what ever it was; was just as stuck as him and probably just as scared. So taking a deep breath he called back “Talic sends greetings, show yourself friend!” managing to sound very much braver than he felt.

The voice became excited, lots of oohs and ah’s followed. Finally he was grasped and dragged upwards onto a nearby ledge.
Happily his rescuer was not a river demon, just a small wiry man with a rather dirty beard.

“Proper troublesome, here’s I waiting to be rescued and I’s rescuing you!” he chuckled.

Talic who had landed in something slimy and was just trying to remove enough of it to shake hands without squelching too much, was pulled to his feet. He managed a politely soggy. “Thaanks Mr?...... Hhhave you……....been here long?”

“Don’t recon to tell without days and nights, seems long. I’s Pina; don’t got anything to eat I s’pose?”

Talic shook his head but all the time his eyes were fixed on a small battered fishing boat at the back of the ledge. As he half listened to Pina’s rambling on about the inconveinience of being eaten, he
considered their predicament.

“That boat” he said finally “couldn’t we row back up and wait for it to open its mouth?”

“Tried that; oars broke; waters going wrong way.”

“What about giving it belly ach; make it sick? Like Gihani did to me when I’d eaten bad berries.” Talic suggested.

“Tried that, tried gouging, scraping, even built a fire, didn’t do a thing. Expecting you’ll wan’ a try again though just to see.”
Talic’s attention wandered to his itchy wrist. The twine!

He pulled, after a couple of arm lengths it stopped. He tested it, it seemed strong. It might have caught somewhere on the way down of course but there was a slight chance that the rest of it was lodged at the back of the crocodile’s throat.

“What about this?” he asked.

“I’s fishing line!” whooped Pina “Where’d find it?”

Talic explained while Pina spluttered excitedly. “Might work, was long, strong too, big hook on end.”

With nothing else to try Pina and Talic clambered into the small boat, wedging their feet under a bar at the front. Talic tightened his grip on the twine.

Pina shunted them unsteadily off the ledge and down the slimy riverbank. Finally they plopped alarmingly into the strange steamy river. Talic pulled, as Pina wound the slack around a sinewy shoulder and elbow and ever so slowly they began to move back along the river.

Eventually after what seemed like hours the current increased slightly and distantly they could see a bright strip of light which widened, then snapped shut with a soggy slap.

“The mouth!” Squealed Talic and began pulling franticly on the twine.
Meanwhile the crocodile prowled the dark shallows of the green gold river. Blinking lazy yellow eyes, he began to feel an uncomfortable itching in his throat. This grew more and more annoying until he had an irresistible urge to cough.

If you’ve never heard a crocodile coughing Talic and Pina would tell you it’s a most unpleasant sound; for he and Pina who’d just arrived in the back of its’ throat found themselves flying out of its mouth and up high into a nearby tree. Delightedly they gulped clean air, hardly believing their luck.

The crocodile snapped its’ jaws and settled down beneath the tree to wait.

Talic, knew his mother would be missing him and began to worry about what would happen if she came looking for him? Besides Pina kept panicking and making the boat shake alarmingly.

Stepping gingerly onto a narrow branch he watched the crocodile snap angrily and move round the tree.

To Pina’s surprise Talic started moving down the tree, till he was just a little higher than the huge crocodile could reach. Then he began to clamber about, shouting wildly and dangling a tempting leg or arm towards its enormous jaws.

The crocodile, still attached to the twine became more and more angry. Circling the tree, twisting and jumping, loops of twine got caught in the lower branches and rapped themselves around its jaws and limbs until it became tightly entangled in the tree. So in spite of its thrashing its tail and flattening a large number of small trees and bushes, and even though it made an awful fuss and a terrible racket, somehow it only succeeded in wrapping itself up even more tightly.

Taking their chance while it lasted, Talic and Pina jumped down into the grass and ran as fast as they could back to their villages.

It would be true to say that when Talic returned, somewhat late for supper and rather smelly and muddy, his mother was less than impressed by the truth of it, in fact he was for a while quite unfairly punished I am sorry to say.

As for Pina, though he was often called on to recount his tale on winter evenings, it was always begged of with a smile and a wink such as might precede the toleration of the ramblings of a much loved but slightly dotty old relative who is prone to wandering slightly in the mind.

However the strangest thing of all is that though no-one ever admitted that they believed Talic and Pina’s story, no-one ever went looking for Talic’s toy ship, or to see if Pina’s boat was still in the tree either.

How do I know this? Well if they had, they like me might have found, that being eaten isn’t nearly as unpleasant as one imagines.


And Now For Something a Little Lighter


To study the habits of teachers
Pretend you are working
Whilst observing them
Through small holes in books

Make notes of colour changes
Before shouting is heard
Advanced warning of danger!
Or if another teacher they fancy
Comes into the room
Take the opportunity to drop your guard

Teachers usually blush and giggle during courtship
So it’s easy to spot
Watch out for
Good moods
New clothes
Dreamy expressions
Leniency towards small crimes
And a general lack of interest in homework

Careful study will allow us to live in peace with these creatures
Tomorrow we will be studying 'The OFSTED Inspector'

I hate being a monster mum
The little monster said
I’m scared of other monsters
And I hate it under beds

It hurts when children run away
I jump when people scream
I don’t suit a monster diet
I’d rather have chips and ice cream

I’m allergic to dust and spiders
I need to hold hands in the dark
Who wants to make noises in cupboards?
When they can go play in the park

I guess what I’m trying to say mum
Is I’m different to you and dad
Do you think you could love me as I am?
Cause I’m no good at being bad

Mrs. Brown

Mrs. Brown was unaware
That Tom could see her underwear
He laughed so much that he stopped breathing
And dropped the lolly he was eating

You might think the little fellow
Could be kind enough to tell her
But he’d hated her for years
And cried only laughter’s tears

The sight of someone that he loathed
With skirt tucked in their underclothes
Made the world a better place
Could lead to downfall and disgrace

Mrs. Brown walked tall and vain
Expressed malevolent distain
Though Tom thought her expression flickered
When he shouted “lovely knickers!”

Mrs. Brown began to glow
As all the street saw it was so
Retreating whimpering to her den
As Thomas gloated on revenge


Post Mortem

The autopsy revealed
A heart once bright with paint
And pipes clogged and split
By lifetimes of mistakes
Or ghost clocks-fixed faced
Lolling doors uncertain
Yawning mouthfulls of stars
Curtains still hang tattered
Like yesterdays eye makeup
And long for footsteps-candle light
Their mute past laid bare-laid out

A hollow scull of a house
Clinging to earth-the corpse of a dream
A giant anthill torn apart
With wild things creeping
Through cracked panes poison
Oozing through the layers

Hunched under crazed haired trees
Filching bricks to vandalise
Crumbled underfoot they seem to mock
The weakness of the injured beast

Mourners uncomfortable
Of nudity and death
Keep their distance fascinated
Fearing the smell of it
They talk about the weather
Keep their infants close
And whisper do not touch