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Alex Russell's blog archive
Collected Sunday Posts

Listen to the author reading last week’s Sunday Post (below) Tickety-boo

Sunday Post 18th March - extract from

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Edward Lear meets The Usual Suspects

Tickety-boo

It’s got legs
Says Jane intently staring
Glaring at her jeans

What do you mean? I say
It’s not so rare for jeans…
One left, one right
It makes a pair…

No. Look
That speck
Is it a tick?
I’d better check
She quickly sticks the ticky shape in sticky tape

There’s another
But bigger

The bugger
I’ll stick that too
… there…
That’s two ticks stuck

Hmm… a thought’s just struck…
What luck
We’re invited out tonight

That’s right
We’re due at six

We’ll take the ticks

I think we’d better stick to cake
Not two ticks stuck in tape

Look they live in the sticks
So they know their ticks
They don’t need specs
To tell if a speck is a tick or a fleck

Hold on a tick or two
I don’t want ticks in my pocket
My legs will itch
Even though they’re stuck in tape
(the ticks that is)

Look… I’ve found a plastic pot with a lid
It’s from Lidl

You’re lucky to find a lid from Lidl
That fits that pot

This classic plastic pot’ll do the trick

That’s right
Just stick the ticks in tape in there
And Lidl’s lid’ll keep ’em tucked up tight


Listen to the author reading another Sunday Post

Sunday Post 11th March - extract from

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Edward Lear meets The Usual Suspects

I’m led past a weir
To a queer little place
Called ‘All in a Day’
Where dear Edward Lear used to stay

His spirit’s still here
As once every year
An owl appears in the fog
In French dressing
Dressed as a frog
Waxing lyrical
Penning un-satirical lines
He never can send

Tu-whitting tu-wooing his friend

Gris
C’est le nouveau noir
Surtout pour les chats
La nuit

Somewhere
In a world of his own
Chunky the marmalade cat
(no acrobat)
Gingerly steps over the jagged stone

A sigh
A drool
As he gazes at the mackerel sky
Reflected in the water
Collected in a pool

He’s havering
Wavering on the edge
On the brink
Thinking to take the plunge
To lunge
To sink into that shoal
And feast


Listen to the author reading the previous week’s Sunday Post extract, “Witches” (below)

Sunday Post 4th March 2012 - extract from

iDream   Ice-Cream   iScream

Edward Lear meets The Usual Suspects

The ozone is tainted with brimstone
As a movement is heard in the bay
The Valkyrie-Ride is stirring the tide
And whipping up fingers of spray
As twelve dark forms come swooping in
To greet the remains of the day

On their reinforced brooms
They zoom round the tombs
Scaring the bats and prowling cats
With their howls and scowls…
And bulk

Incredible hulks
They’re bruisers
Cruiser-weight hags
With saddle-bag thighs
And hard-hearted eyes
Tattoos on their fists
And chains on their wrists

The Devil’s Dolls are on their hols
It’s a coven of witches from Govan

Scotland’s austere at this time of year
For a high-flying bitch

And Holiday Which said here there was space
It’s the right place to be
A dream by the sea
A scream by the sea
With ice-cream


Listen to the author reading another week’s Sunday Post (below)

Sunday Post 26th February 2012 - extract from

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Edward Lear meets The Usual Suspects

Bill Stickers

Persecuted
Sought but un-caught
Neither collared nor ’cuffed
Un-prosecuted

Life on the street has been fraught
Taught him to be tough
Cope with the rough-and-the-tumble
He’s learned not to grumble
Learned to have fun

He’s still on the run

Roofless and toothless
He hums as he gums up a poster
A right roller-coaster
A film at the Rex
(the rating is ‘X’)
‘Sick Squid’
Not much sex but squalor and squalls
And maritime brawls with belching squelching squid

Half price in the stalls - three quid
(no kids but pensioners free)

A last chance to see
Twenty thousand legs under the sea


Listen to the author reading the previous week’s Sunday Post (below)

Sunday Post 19th February 2012 - extract from

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Edward Lear meets The Usual Suspects

I follow the track

Soon I’m back
Feeling tarmac under my feet
Proper streets
I seem to be strolling down Dickens Row
I shrug and go without protestation
But without any great expectation

This road isn’t chic
The houses all seem rather… bleak
Downcast
Too much grime…
They speak of hard times

There are not many stores
Most have gone to the wall
And the few that remain are quite small
There’s a draper’s
And a ‘Pickwick’s’ selling papers
And last at the top is
A curious shop

I’m about to go past
But a single drop plops onto my skin
I lick…
It’s gin
Appetite whetted
I stop and look in

It’s a musty place
A fusty place
Ragged lace at the window and door
Dead flies on the floor

On display
Under a crust of cobwebs and dust
Are gadgets and gismos
In beige and in grey
In a heap

They’re robust and not cheap
But the sign is up front
It’s blunt and concise
And quite sound
‘Get an old device for an original price…
The cost is the weight by the pound’

On a huge laptop
Sits a pedigree cat called Sir James
(an aristocat?)
Bored with playing computer games
With the mouse on the mat

He’s tired of toys
And his temper is frayed
There’s too much noise
(a fly is buzzing inside a lampshade)

But most of all what sticks in his craw
Is the clock on the wall
With its ticking and tocking…

The clock strikes

It strikes again
The cat strikes back
A flash of claws in velvet paws

A dull-eyed wooden cuckoo
Dangles from its spring
Its paintwork streaked

A crimson drop
Drips from its beak…

The mouse squeaks


Listen to the author reading another week’s Sunday Post: “Couples & Pairs” (below)

Sunday Post 12th February 2012 - extract from

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From the Cutting-Room Floor - Couples and Pairs

Couples and Pairs

Lily & Mano
LM
They turn up together
LM-entry
My dear Watson


Alison & Andy
AA
They might be worth a call
If you need help


Chris & Audrey
C&A
(just like the shops)
Just like the shops?
No… that’s not quite true
That’s not all they like
And it’s not all shops either
But they do like Noz
A lot


Mauricette & Marc, Mikhail & Mariamna
M&Ms
Mmmm… they’re all sweet


Serge & Xenia
SX
This can a bit misleading
As they’re French
Not from Essex


George & Celia
GC
George is George
But Celia’s not Cross


Mick & Sarah
M&S
You can find them in Britain
And in France


André & Hélène - Hélène & André
Ah-ha!


Sylvain & Isabelle
‘Si’
In French means ‘Yes’
When you were expecting ‘No’
A bit like them really


Annik & Maurice
AM
It’s easier to catch them in the morning
Rather than the evening or at night


Marguerite & Wladimir
Mw (ah)!
The sound of air kisses
When we meet


Listen to the author reading another week’s Sunday Post: “Names” (below)

Sunday Post 5th February 2012 - extract from

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From the Cutting-Room Floor - Names

Playing bridge with Odile

Oh deal the cards
(Odile! The cards!)
Don’t bite ’em Flower
Don’t be daf’ Odile
You’re not a CrocOdile


Émile

You’re a dowser
Who reminds me of a Scouser I used to know
You’re bigger than me
So was he

Émile
Let’s make a deal
We’ll give you a meal if you can reveal
Where the water is sealed
Underground

Émile
I want a well by the house
But can’t dig till you dowse
But you haven’t yet come
With your pen-du-lum

Émile
If you don’t want the job I’ll call Bob
He’s a bloke with a fob
And if he’s not free
I’ve heard of a bod who’s won some acclaim

Divining Rod has got a good name


…let’s call him Stan

I know a man
A distinguished surgeon
Not a sturgeon or a carp
But a cold fish nonetheless

With flesh and blood
His words are scalpel-sharp


Listen to the author reading a previous Sunday Post: “Bristol” (below)

Sunday Post 29th January 2012 - extract from

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From the Cutting-Room Floor — Bristol

A stick in the mud

There’s Crystal from Bristol getting stuck
Into her tuck
While her friends on the heath
Called Norma(l) and Vera(l)
Munch igneous rock
With diamond-capped teeth

But Brenda(l)’s too busy to eat
She’s draw(l)ing a picture in words
On the seat


All sheep-shape in Bristol fashion

Crystal is swathed in a sweater
She bought it last year in a store
She’d hoped it would hide her large figure
But she’s bigger than ever before


Monika - don’t make a spectacle of yourself

Here in France you’re unique
You’re not a Monique
But don’t go to Bristol
Your name would turn… optical
You’d end up as… ‘Monikle’
And that just wouldn’t be chic


Listen while the author reads another #SampleSunday post: “Sideways” (below)

#SampleSunday 22nd January 2012 - extract from

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From the Cutting-Room Floor

Sideways

I don’t like taking sides he sighed
There’s a left side and a right side
And a wrong side of course
There’s inside and outside
And no doubt
An inside-out
And there’s upside and downside
And upside-down

I don’t like taking sides he sighed
But if I have to choose
I’ll take the sea-side


Listen while the author reads another week’s #SampleSunday post: “Strange Arts” (below)

#SampleSunday 15th January 2012 - extract from

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From the Cutting-Room Floor

Strange Arts

Strange arts can be found in these parts
If you know where to look

By a brook in this wood
Are Batman and Robin… Hood
Their crusading days over and gone
But still going strong
Not here to do good
They’ve come to write wrongs

There are Dukes writing songs
Ellington and Wellington
(to give them their due)
Have brought off a coup
With a jazz version of Waterloo

But the Kings
Elvis and Kong
Aren’t so great as a team
They scream and have fights

Over royalties and rights
And then they run out of steam

Old “Duke” John Wayne
Has been feeling the strain
He’s fallen asleep near the lane

In dreams he’s not herding cattle
Or fighting a battle
He’s rounding up sheep by a brook
With a crook
With Bo-Peep

They’re stuck in the muck

There’s a shout
It’s from Bo in her smock
Saying “Go!”
(in his ear)
“Let’s get the flock out of here”


Listen while the author reads another week’s #SampleSunday post: “Famous Line” (below)

#SampleSunday 8th January 2012 - extract from

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From the Cutting-Room Floor

Famous Line

(With a leer) she said
Write me an ode to the ear…
Something erotic…

Oh dear, I replied

-------------

I want something romantic this time
Something in rhyme

And no semantic tricks!

Write me a poem instead
(She said)
But start with a famous line

Fine - could be fun
Which one?
“I wandered lonely as a cloud”?

No… that’s a bit of a cliché

What do you say to
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day…”?

OK
Yes, yes. I’d like that

Later she got quite upset
When her gaze fell on the phrase
“Cold and wet”


Listen to the author reading another #SampleSunday extract

#SampleSunday 1st January 2012 - extract from

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Edward Lear meets The Usual Suspects

School Yard

I flick through the pages
There’s a chapter “School Ages”
Marked with a card
I read:

“School Yard”
Today it’s measured in metres
But the school yard is hard as a rule
For all of the young
Who are inching their way
Flinching at times while finding their feet
Fighting their fears
Hiding their tears
Sometimes for years


Listen to the author reading a previous #SampleSunday extract

#SampleSunday 25th December - extract from

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Edward Lear meets The Usual Suspects

Trees

Down the lane
In the rain
In a woodland plantation
Stands a tree
A mutation
A forest-tree
A cultivated once-serene
Once-and-for-evergreen
That’s no longer spruce

No use to itself
Reduced to despair
Aware that its strength
Is sapping away

It’s pining
Declining
Its roots are calling
Recalling the fjords

Breaking the cords of its heart

The bed creaks…

Up a branch of the creek
Floats a beech
Part-beached and creaking
Wet and black
Not bleached
Along the reach its mast abandoned…
Drifting


Listen to the author reading another #SampleSunday extract

#SampleSunday 11th December - extract from

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Edward Lear meets The Usual Suspects

The Persian

Next is a piece by my niece
She’s in the police
I give you fair warning
This morning it’s gritty hard-hitting stuff
Life in the buff
Honest and tough:

I’ve lost my purrs
Says the Persian sadly

I see…
Says Desk Sergeant Pearl
(perched pertly on a stool)
Did it contain anything?
Perfume for example
A purchase you’ve recently made?

They were full of contentment

Riiiight…
Says Pearl
(pensively pursing her purple-glossed lips)

But you just said ‘They’
You mean more than one purse is missing?
(Pearl smiles at her own perceptiveness)

Perhaps you’d like to explain

We wouldn’t like to commit perjury
Or pervert the course of justice
Would we?
Perseveres Pearl
(in a rather pernickety tone)

We can only pursue your case
If we have the facts pertaining to your loss
Are you claiming that someone…
Shall we call him or her the perpetrator…?
Purloined your purse or purses?

What are you purporting to say?
I am as it were a little…
Perplexed
Not least of all because…
If that’s not being too…
Personal
You are a cat




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