Doggerel 13: Wapping

I’m doing a bit of desktop clearance in an effort to keep myself awake as I watch the general election results come in. This was a winning entry in a Scribblers Flash Poesy contest, inspired by the James McNeill Whistler painting of the same name. Before reading on, be warned, this is a poem in the rap idiom written by a middle aged doctor from Cheshire.


Yo, listen up bitches, it’s the captain on the decks,
All you other pirates be pwesiding over wrecks,

I got sixty foot sails,

This bitch never fails,

Assailing armadas or harpooning whales

Got a maximum speed of 47 knots,

Makes other piwate’s galleons look like Thames regatta yachts


Got more gold Doubloons than Barclay’s Bank,

Don’t tell me it ain’t so, or I’ll make you walk the plank,

I’m top of pirate class,

Got a 3 foot cutlass,

And that pwotwusion in my pocket it ain’t my spyglass,

Say it all you want but that don’t make it right,

Me landlubbing Barque is worse than my bight


Pipe down Teddy Teach with your Gwecian 1900,

And don’t be banging on abound the schooners that you plundered

Listen Teach, you got taught,

You got caught short,

I been going behind your back with your girl in every port

If you cwoss me again, I’ll make you beg

Me not to find another use for Long John Silver’s leg


Yo ho, yo ho: a piwate’s life for me,

It’d be alwight if I didn’t mind the sea,

And the cheap rum, 

Still made my mind numb,

Instead of making me pine for me humble Pompey slum,

Now me mizzenmast’s sagging and me bowswit’s jiggered,

And one of these days, I’ll just up and say fwigate.

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Forever England

This is a quick Friday Fictioneers effort, vaguely inspired by today’s election. I can’t help but wonder how much unnecessary pain we’d have been spared if someone had bought Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall a shed. Thanks to sarah potter for the prompt.

(100 words exactly.)

Eustace could barely stand to think about the way the country was going. Too much immigration, he thought, though you weren’t supposed to say that. After Irene died, the kids had stopped visiting. Embarrassed of their old man, he supposed, though they’d understand in time.
For now, though, he had his potting shed. He could say what he liked to the broadbeans, and they wouldn’t call him racist. With government determined to send the country to the dogs, why would he leave?
Six months later, his son found his body, emaciated, encased in tendrils, a beatific smile on his face. 


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Deny Everything

This is a slightly delayed Sunday Photofiction submission. Thanks to Dawm M.Miller for the prompt. I don’t often try to be topical, because there’s always a risk of coming across overly worthy. Perhaps I should keep politics out of it, too, but this is a subject that’s occupied a lot of my thoughts so I make no apologies.

(Nb. For reasons I don’t understand, the photo isn’t uploading so there’s a risk the last line won’t make a lot of sense)

-Your brother still working at Vauxhall?


-He worried about them selling it off to the frogs?

-Nah.He’s a riveter.

-What about Brexit?

-What about it?

-He not worried about that?

-Why’d he worry?

-Well…If we leave the single market, won’t the ensuing export duties make the cars uncompetitive on the continental marketplace?

-Your typical frenchman ain’t going to let a couple of thousand Euro come between him and his Vectra.

-And those punitive duties on imported components are really going to hit their profit margin. 


-So that’s going to have a knock on effect on terms and conditions.
-How come?

-Well, the cost of manufacturing’ll go up and their profits’ll go down.

-But…we’re taking back control. Like that Priti Patel said.

-Yeah, till they lay off the workforce and shift the whole shebang to Cologne.

-Still…An extra £350 million a week for the NHS.

-If you believe that, you’ll probably believe the Antara’s a class-leading mid-size SUV.

-Now you’re just being a naysayer.

-What. Like a horse?

-Nah. A naysayer. Like that Michael Gove was on about. You’ll be banging on about global warming next.

-You not worried about that, then?

-Would I have bought myself 50 patio heaters if I was?


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Up The Junction

This is a Friday Fictioneers submission. Thanks to C.E.Ayr for the photographic prompt and to Messrs Difford and Tilbrook for the title. 


There’s not so many of them these days, the trainspotters. It’s the internet, I suppose, sparing them from the weather and the derision of commuters. A few remain, usually male, making video recordings on their phones these days, instead of jotting numbers in their notebooks. They rarely notice me watching them; they never did.
The wife says I should give up, that our boy’s not coming back, but she’s wrong. One day, the pull of the locomotive will be too strong. He’ll forget about that other stuff that took him away and we’ll get back to our shared hobby again.


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Of Mice And Men (Doggerel #12)

This was a Scribblers Flash Poesy submission. The challenge was to base a poem around the title of a book. Now, parenthood, work and Netflix have conspired to create a situation where I average a pitiful number of books per year and I happened to be reading East Of Eden at the time. I couldn’t think of anything for that title and The Grapes Of Wrath only inspired an unpleasant mental image involving Mr Orange and some haemarrhoid cream, so I feel back on this GCSE standard. With hindsight, I wonder if the fact I last read the book when I was fifteen inspired the subject matter. Incidentally, this is one of about three pieces of mine to be placed first in a contest on Authonomy or a successor website.


What sultry sordid passion hangs,
Behind the lustrous brunette bangs

Of the comely and inviting lass,

Gazed upon behind the glass

Of the laptop screen astride the lap,

Of this dull, unprepossessing chap?

Len hasn’t seen his wife in weeks,

And when he does, he barely speaks,

As his thoughts return, again, again

To the simpler games of mice and men,


Far easier to get his kicks,

Through a furtive run of button clicks,

Than coupledom in the old fashioned way,

With drawn out talk about his day,

Which, once enjoyed, now seem to grate

As household chores he’s left too late,

And the awkward way he holds his fork,
Dominate the parlour talk,

Till he finds his thoughts wandering again,

To the gentler games of mice and men


Len’s lost his heart to an avatar,
In thigh length boots and peephole bra,

Who’s frozen like a mannequin,

Until he types his bank details in

Then when a playful smile you’d call coquettish,

She gratifies his Draylon fetish,

And the thing for lace he’s discovered lurks
With myriad other unspeakable quirks,

All awoken when he discovered his yen,

For the mysterious games of mice and men


And Len tells himself his wife doesn’t suspect,

The reasons behind the outrageous neglect

But she listens out, until she’s sure,

He’s locked behind the bathroom door,

Then creeps out for her tryst in the liveried van 

That belongs to her lover, the pest control man

As Len’s chases the past on a smudged laptop screen,
She’s the one who remembers what passion can mean,

She’ll remind herself later, on Tuesday at ten

More delectable games of mice and men

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This is a Friday Fictioneers foray.

Thanks to Shaktiki Sharma for the prompt.


The youths had set about Raymond with a rare vigour. His nose had been broken, his arm dislocated and his scarf left dangling on Mr Yate’s garden wall. The snowman’s lot has never been a happy one: forced into anachronistic knitwear by day and assaulted by feral youth at night.
When he’d seen one of the gang loitering alone by the bus stop, it looked like a chance for revenge. Alas, his nerves got the better of him and he froze to the spot, wishing that the puddle which was forming around him could be put down to global warming.


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Hellas Other People

This is a Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers submission. Thanks to Footy and Foodie for the inspiration. Apologies for my failure to stick to the word limit. I tried and tried to pare it down, but the story just wasn’t the same. This is my first offering for a number of months so I’m hoping I’ll be allowed to carry over 20 words or so.

(apologies, too, that the title makes no sense. I really need to get to bed and that’s the best I can do)


Dimitri couldn’t help but ruminate wistfully whenever he gazed over a body of water. It was what made him such a gifted screenwriter. It was a pity, then, that he’d chosen to make his home on the Island of Kos. Surrounded, as he was by the Aegean Sea, he found himself too busy ruminating to actually get any writing done. Forced to make ends meet, he took a job in a petrol station. Oil might make the world go round, but as liquids went, it wasn’t particularly evocative. 

He’d’ve been fine if the manager hadn’t decided to run a promotion on bottled water. A portly trucker, looking for something to wash down a pasty, handed over a bottle of Volvic.Dimitri  couldn’t help himself and, by the time the punter handed over his debit card, our man was lost in a reverie about the time he beat his father at tennis. When the robber came in demanding the day’s takings, the poor sap didn’t stand a chance.  
Some say his ghost still haunts the island but as anyone who’s met him will attest, Dimitri’s stuck on the banks of the Styx, pining for his first love, whilst the ferryman glowers on.


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