Three English Miniatures


Every day I don the taciturn
authority of a snooker referee.

My clobber’s always beautiful:
cufflinked shirt and Paras tie,

narrowest-pinstripe three-piece suit
and handstitched Oxford brogues.

I could tell you about my three tours
of Northern Ireland; the kills.

These are deerskin-leather gloves I bear
within my borough-crested cap.

I loathe this poxy Vauxhall Astra.
The new Lady Mayor’s all right

but her values aren’t mine, let’s say.
Before her lot flogged it off,

my gorgeous black Daimler panthered
the Royal Borough’s streets

as though they were the boulevards
of downtown Monte Carlo.


Mid-morning drizzle delivers a quiet
interlude in which it would be opportune
were Harpo Marx to play, his smile

professorial, when all movement freezes
bar the bloodflow of some bloke whistling
(cheeks sucked in, tight against the bone),

interspersed, from over the river,
with ricocheting gunshots kicking off
Hampton Court Park’s annual deer-cull.


This middle-England market town smells like
a storm-drenched West Highland White. Mick

Moriarty, vaping as he deals poached venison,
charges his Astra round the one-way endlessly,

yelling ‘Yessssss’ like namesake Dean burning
a ’47 Plymouth to San Luis Obispo; drumming

the dashboard with punch-empurpled knuckles.
Home means beer, a Red Arrows jigsaw puzzle.

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