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11 August 2016

On the care and comfort of exotic pets

Just because.



Please don’t keep your axolotl in an empty shampoo bottle
When a proper coffee pot’ll do the trick.

Don’t feed raisins or sultanas to exsanguinous iguanas;
Offer only ripe bananas when they’re sick.

If you must adopt a locust, it’s important you stay focused -
Your indifference might provoke a stream of swears.

Water isn’t good for spiders, they prefer a range of ciders
Served with tiny pulled-pork sliders, cut in squares.

If you take a young impala to a symphony or gala,
Be advised: the sound of Mahler makes them squeal.

If you haven’t any pillow for your banded armadillo,
Then a head-sized sheet of filo is ideal.

If you can’t stop your cicada stealing biscuits from your larder,
Try to make its access harder with a maze.

Never give your tuatara make-up, shoes or a tiara,
You’ll be cleaning up mascara smears for days. 



27 June 2016

Regrexit

Because hindsight, at today's exchange rate, is still 20/20

Whoops! I thought that we was voting summink different innit;
I didn’t know we’d really take the EU and, like, bin it.
For sure I thought the ‘Leave’ vote would add up to less than half;
I only voted ‘Leave’ ‘cause my mates dared me for a laugh.
That Nigel bloke said immigrants was stealin’ British jobs;
I didn’t know that Nigel is the king of racist nobs.
He said we’d save some money that could save the NHS;
There’s more to this than what he might’ve said (or not) I guess;
‘Cause now the Pound is down and our financial future’s drab;
But most importantly: CAN I STILL GET A CHEAP KEBAB?

06 June 2016

When the campaign is Donne

Because halfway through an election campaign is as good a time as any to get metaphysical. 

When next the visage of the moon
Turns coyly from the Earth to wane
In Southern lands, a mournful tune
Plays soft to endeth this campaign

Two foes, hast did declare their troth
As means to quench a powr’ful thirst
One side intendeth jobs and growth
The other, putting people first.

What trigger’d such a grand event?
A solemn vow to disagree
‘Til twice-dissolved, our parliament
Restored not the ABCC

For fortnights twain a battle fought
Continued twenty-eight days more
We sit upon the rowboat’s thwart
With battens placed for what’s in store.

What promises are made thus far?
What quarter shall our champions give
To childcare, tax, the NBN
And gearing in the negative?

As rivals gloat and bluff and boast
It matters not what happens hence
The policies that matter most
Seem nothing much of consequence

Of marriage just, nor refugees
Spake neither glori’ed bureaucrat;
More time and swathes of journalese
Apportioned to a blessed rat.



30 December 2015

Two Thousand and Fifteen

Because 'tis the season to write lists of things.

In December I remember
Everything that’s been;
Listed tersely and diversely,
Here’s my two-zero-fifteen:














15 December 2015

The Twelve Days of Poxmas

Because we have a vaccine now. 

Some parents think holding "pox parties" to deliberately infect other people's kids with chicken pox - a usually mild but very uncomfortable disease with long-term complications - is preferable to having a quick jab. Perhaps they think the vaccine is more dangerous than the disease (it isn't). Perhaps they think it'll all be over in a week or so (it won't). Perhaps they think nobody ever dies from chicken pox (they do). Perhaps they don't think. 

Anyway, Pox Party Parents: this little festive jingle is for you and your poor kids. 

On the first day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
A flatlining E-C-G.

On the second day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the third day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the fourth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the fifth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the sixth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the seventh day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the eighth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the ninth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Nausea and shingles
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the tenth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Encephalitis
Nausea and shingles
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Bloodstained sheets from scratching
Encephalitis
Nausea and shingles
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my Mum’s friend gave to me,
Viral pneumonia
Bloodstained sheets from scratching
Encephalitis
Nausea and shingles
Febrile convulsions
Weeping pus-filled blisters
Bleeding disorders
Neur-al-gia
Permanent scars
Mouth ulcers
Sore, crusty eyes
And a flatlining E-C-G.

16 August 2015

Scat.

Because poos ain’t poos.

Sooner or later, every Facebook discussion turns to shit. Yesterday, my friend Jo, who is a nurse quite familiar with the workings of the bowel, practically dared me to write a pome about the brown stuff. I so seldom get the chance to take up a dare these days, so I thought I would re-invent The Bristol Stool Chart in rhyming ploplets. 
You know. 
For shits and giggles. 




One is separate rock-hard lumps, and very hard to pass.
Two’s a lumpy sausage shape, a strain upon one's arse.
Three is like a chocolate bar, but cracked (not hard or knobby).
Four is smooth and serpentine, an easy-going jobbie.
Five consists of clear-cut blobs that don’t require a push.
Six has fluffy edges, ill-defined and boggy mush.
Seven’s got no shape at all; a watery suspension.
If you’re not doing threes or fours, your tummy needs attention.


Illustration by Jo Thornely (a completely different Jo)

23 March 2015

Good government starts today.

Because we need to start a conversation about "good" and "today".


On Monday 9 February, Prime Minister Tony Abbott faced the media after emerging mildly victorious from a spill motion and announced: 

"Good government starts today."

But, like with everything the Prime Minister says, there has been some confusion. Given that, during the six weeks since his claim he's sidelined indigenous Australians, patronised Irish Australians, attempted to destroy the reputation of the Australian Human Rights Commission, brushed off allegations of physical and sexual abuse in our offshore detention centres and eaten a raw onion as if it was a sane thing to do, I think we need a little clarification about what constitutes "good government" and "today".

I asked the Prime Minister to come up with his own explanation in no more than six rhyming quatrains, and he was remarkably obliging: 

Good government starts today. Hooray!
My standards won’t fall beneath
The era of steam or the Pot regime.
(But first let me clean my teeth.)

Good government starts at half-past nine!
I promise I’ll try to be
Much less of an arse to the working class.
(Once I’ve had this cup of tea.)

Good government starts right after lunch!
Our policies shan’t be feared.
I’ll do what I ought with the Moss report.
(As soon as the plates are cleared.)

Good government starts this afternoon!
I’m certainly going to do
A much better job for the native mob.
(Beginning at ten past two.)

Good government starts at dinner time!
I’ll show nothing but remorse
For all of the brawls and the captain’s calls.
(Right after the seventh course.)

Good government starts at beddy-byes!
There’ll be no more pain or sorrow.
That’s a firm guarantee from my team and me:
Good government starts tomorrow.