Dai's Meaningless Miscellany

(assorted verses, culled from 25 or more years of scribbling, 1986-present)

(latest additions, 11/6/15)

Psychophathic Nurse (1986)
Rimbaud and I (2004)
Sonatina on some paintings of Andrew Wyeth (2006)
Runnin' Wilde (2008)
Is my paint drying?
Why? Why not?
Floaters (2011)
Pasty-Faced Wasters
Bowel Screening Programme
Dead Days Following (fragments)
Word of the Year, 2013
Four excerpts
Mindless in Bridgford
Short and (Bitter)sweet
Also Sprach Ayn Rand

Psychophathic Nurse

All things come to he who waits, as some thick prat once said
But before you rush in blindly where those cheering angels tread
Just pause a while and ask yourself, which option would be worse:
A psychiatric patience or a psychopathic nurse?

You never know quite where you stand, no exes mark the spot
Her heart is stone, her blood runs cold, but the rest of her is hot.
You're on a roller coaster with no brakes and no reverse
You lose your heart, you'll lose your mind to a psychopathic nurse

Your body’s on the table, your emotions on the rack;
She takes your pulse and raises it but never gives it back...
A thousand mocking Cupids pronounce the dreadful curse:
You're banged up in a padded hell with a psychopathic nurse

Oh, she can make the patient but not disturb the bed
She treats all of your senses and discharges you half dead.
As you climb aboard the night bus, it's a double-decker hearse
May you ever rest in pieces with your psychopathic nurse

(c1986, inspired by John Cooper Clarke, completed 2011, not based on any real person)

Rimbaud and I


Don't touch me: this is a day
For pulling teeth; for films; for cummerbunds:
Sesquicentennials and a pack of cards.
What did Paul get you?  Something nice?

My paramour, my little queen?
I go to see her soon, depart by train.
Baisaient la Nymphe indeed, mon cher ami.
Dancing, wine, a river of cassis ...

By the way — I found this key;
I think it's yours; it bears a little tag:
In faded ink it reads 'Parade Sauvage' —
Tried it in all my locks — it doesn't fit.

20/10/2004 – my 52nd, Rimbaud’s 150th

Sonatina on some paintings of Andrew Wyeth


Earth colours: browns and greys;
a road in snow, a blasted,
withered tree beneath
a clear but chilly sky.

An empty room: a candle
flame, lace curtains, lifted
by the breeze, wafting
through an open window.

An isolated farmhouse
or a barn, alone upon
the hilltop, deserted
in the prairie.

in absence, places haunted
by the spirits of the living.


Runnin' Wilde

I've said it before and I'll say it again
In Wilde's immortal phrase ~
"All Bad Poetry Is Sincere"
Whatever anyone says

Sincerity is important ~
As Walter Cronkite said
Indeed, it's the key to everything
"Fake that and you've got it made"

Emotion and suffering on their own
Will never write readable verse
If you're in too close to whereof you write
It just gets worse and worse

Good poems and self-indulgence
Cannot go hand in hand
Technique must always lead the way
To the poet's promised land

OK, my verse is insincere
It's also pretty shite
But it’s late and I’m tired and you don’t really care,
So I'm off to bed ~ Goodnight.

(2006 ~ on an online message board for bad poets
see also Struck Regularly in Bathetic Phallacies)

For Kasia ~ Is my paint drying?

I bought a dead man's easel
From his daughter down in Wales —
I guess he turned to painting
When his health began to fail,

So they bought him paints and palette;
Some 'how-to' books on art
And a dinky table easel
So that he could make a start

"Chin up, old man," they maybe said,
When things started getting rough;
"It's good to have an interest
"To take your mind off — stuff."

But the palette knew no colours;
The books remained unread;
With the stand still in its packing,
The man lay cold and dead

How soon after did poor Katie
Gather up that sombre stash,
To sell it off on E-bay —
Clear it out and raise some cash?

I looked her up on Facebook —
Pretty, not yet twenty three —
Thinking, I may well be older
Than her father lived to be.

While I sit alone and long for death,
Will the easel call to mind
How sad that would-be artist was
To leave his life behind?

Now I try to paint your portrait
In Magritte's surrealish style:
The rose you hold before your face
Conceals your gamine smile

As I try to fix your beauty
I'm aware that life is frail —
I use a dead man's easel
And his daughter mourns in Wales


Why? Why not?

The violence here upon the streets
And that 'our boys' deal out
Are sides of the same sad tarnished coin
Of that I've little doubt.

Flipping burgers or fighting wars
For land or gas or oil
Go out and fight on Lothian Road
Or on some foreign soil

The dim and thuggish always are,
By those with power and gold,
Used as fodder and used as brawn ~
Ever the old same old

Don't call this action 'sacrifice'
Or think your leader cares ~
The price of pain and bloodshed weighed
In Haliburton shares

Turn round and see your enemy
Retrain your guns and knives
On Starbucks, Macs and Burger Kings
And help reclaim your lives!



From now on, they will always be
with me: the small black dots, dancing,
and the aurora snake, describing
lazy arcs in my right eye vision.

With time they may fade from view:
yet always remain there, floating
in the vitreous humour (that name
that made us schoolboys giggle*), edited

out by a cunning brain. But always ready
to return, in times of stress or weariness,
to bring to mind the night you brought
plasters and balm to the Penguin Café.

* In Spain I broke my humerus.
    I am plagued by Fate’s bad puns.

(February 2011)


Oh, take that name that they have given you.
Now take that name and put it in its box,
its box that they have given you,
then take that box that holds that name,
that name that they have given you,
and put it on that shelf,
that shelf that they have designated,
that they have designated for that box,
that box that they have given you,
to hold that name,
that name that now lies hidden in that box,
that box that they have given you,
upon that shelf that they have designated
to store, away from view and safe from interference,
that name that they have given you.

(12 10 2011)

Pasty-Faced Wasters

Up on the stage
the Pasty-Faced Wasters,
a six-piece outfit, post-rock,
neo-proto-punk, are setting up.
No two sets the same, rarely
even planned out in advance,
the audience kept safely in
the dark. They like it that way
They won't play Glastonbury
or Later with Jools.

(10 2011)

Bowel Screening Programme

I’m sending my shit to Dundee
Six small samples, sealed
        under sticky flaps
        in a secure envelope.
A sign that the State,
        in Scotland, cares; a reminder
        of the risks that come
with approaching senesence.

Two years ago I did the same,
all but certain something,
        after two years’ pain,
        festered somewhere in my gut;
a sign that my life,
        this hollow farce of loneliness,
        might soon be over.
Maybe this time …

(7 11 2011)


golden graced oh no
wrought finely from within
bought finally with
in later years
not graceless gold —
on — go

told facelessly to show
fought gamely but in vain
caught mainly dreams
in shame and tears
your face a mess —
we know

old base but so
short-lived a life apart
taught lovers' lessons
part greater fears
from baser cold —
no show

(10 11 2011)

Dead Days Following (fragments)

… saw
that they were naked,
ran, as best they could
with shameful, hand-cupped genitals,
to Primark (Eden branch)
at garden’s edge
got kitted cheap
with solomons and tees
for when the Man came by.

… eternal ones,
for whom a billion years
are but a day, blinked ———
and missed my whole
existence. All my prayers
passed by, the momentary
buzz of a passing mozzie …

(March 2012)


My head feels so light, there’s a pain in my chest
My breathing is laboured, I need lots of rest

I’ll prescribe deadly poison, take three times a day
Till the breathing has stopped. Now please go away.

(March 2012)

Right, this verse is called Word of the Year 2013

Before we start, bit o' parental guidance: kids, don't let yer parents read this, it's got fuckin' bad language in it.
'Ere goes…

To find success in life's weird game,
To know which trends are gonna suit yer,
To get yer laid or make yer name,
It 'elps if yer can see the future.
To steal a march on some new craze
Last year I arsked that bird in Delphi,
And she intoned the cryptic phrase:
The next big fing will be the selfie!

Fuck, I must be gettin' old
Me young bloke's pass is well expired:
'Ere's one more fad that leaves me cold
(And me shoulder's gettin' tired)
Arm's-length photos of me boat
Won't make me famous, fit or wealfy,
Win back me love or works promote,
So what the 'ell's my raison d'selfie?

Sendin' snaps of bits and butts?
To me it all sounds rahver silly,
But then, wiv my expansive guts,
It's years since I've seen little willy!
So, if I needs to take a peek
I guess I could, all sly an' stealfy,
Into my well-lit baffroom sneak
And send meself a sexting selfie.

But I just stand 'ere, like a fool,
'Oldin' me camera back-to-front;
'Ow come, if this is so damn cool,
I'm feelin' such a stupid cunt?
To Brits, brought up to show reserve,
It sorta feels a bit un'ealfy.
Don't fink I've got the bleedin' nerve
To show the world a fuckin' selfie.

Or 'ave I?

'Ave a fuckin' great 2014, awright?

(December 2013)


You smile. They don't
smile back. You step
ahead of them
to board the bus,
not rudely; just
to give them time
for grabbing one
last, urgent drag.

Can pleasure seized
so hurriedly
be worth the name?
Or does that haste,
that desperation,
just make it so
much more intense?

(April 2015)

Four excerpts

Witting follows witting. Impressions
made by the soldiers' boots
combine in rhythmic novelty

I simply know, when Birtwistle,
Beethoven, use a note, a chord,
it's where it ought to be, involved

Like the neatly-furled umbrella,
left, still dripping, in the cloakroom,
I miss the whole performance

Screaming, in the chilly, ill-stocked
mid-May air above the flats,
the birds who never land arrived today

(May 2015)

Mindless in Bridgford

I too went through my
statutory teenage Huxley phase,
reading almost everything old
Aldous wrote. The man
did drugs, ahead of Sixties cool,
and wrote sci-fi with added
intellectual cachet.

Seventies telly gave me
adptations of Island
and Eyeless in Gaza, complete
with mandatory naked flesh;
and now I cringe at memories
of reading through Crome Yellow,
taking it serious, relating to
the callow young protagonist,
not realising that we both
were twats



Were you an early resurrection?
Brought back, like Sherlock Holmes
or Bobby Ewing, by popular demand,
to a new life in the Crimea, only
to star in yet another tragedy?
Aufersteh'n, nur einmal mehr zu sterben?

Not quite —
you end the sequel living still;
but priestesses are mortals too,
and even if we do not let
poor Nelly starve, she has
to go one day, as do we all.

Your life has troubles yet in store.
We live in weird times;
but then we always did.

(Dec 2015)

Short and (Bitter)sweet

The ritual furling of the old umbrella,
bought in that shop near Gower Street
serves as a postlude to a shapeless day.

(Oct 2016)

Also Sprach Ayn Rand

It suits the plutocratic, fatcat pigs:
An economic system built on gigs.
No pension plans, no pesky union fights,
No sick pay, holidays or workers' rights.
You fine them if they can't turn up when told,
And drop them if they get too sick or old.
Ideal for any fit young buck (or wench):
A life with the Deliverübermensch

But zero hours suit certain types of folk:
The ones who aren't incapable (just broke).
The freedom that it brings seems rather grand
To those who have no ratrace future planned.
They own a bike or car, live near the shop;
They're fit enough to work until they drop
As Nietzsche said, you need to be quite hench
To work in der Deliverübermensch

They sort your parcels, bring them to your door,
Or keep the shelves stocked in the sportswear store;
They drive you home when you're too pissed to walk,
Or pedal round with your fried rice and pork.
In heatwave, sleet or snow or pouring rain,
They bring your supper and they're off again.
You must admit, there's nothing that can quench
The spirit of Deliverübermensch

But is this model really selfsustaining?
Do we all lose more than the few are gaining?
Are we exploiting those who can't be choosers?
Upsetting only whingeing snowflake losers?
Will it collapse like other fiscal fictions,
And leave us crushed beneath its contradictions,
The air filled with the rancid sweaty stench
Of all those dead Deliverübermensch?

(April 2021)