I prefer going to movies alone.

I prefer to star in life alongside other people.

I prefer a soaking along the Atlantic.

I prefer Keyes to Keynes.

I prefer myself liking myself

to myself disliking everyone else.

I prefer to keep a needle on the record, than just CDs in cases .

I prefer the colour clean.

I prefer not to make a mountain

out of every cliff.

I prefer inceptions.

I prefer to finish, nearly.

I prefer talking to police about something else.

I prefer coast-lined habitations.

I prefer the absurdity of writing to myself

to the absurdity of speaking this to others.

I prefer, where love’s concerned, specific anniversaries

that can be celebrated every year.

I prefer loyalists

who plámás me nothing.

I prefer being mindful to mindfulness.

I prefer the down-to-earth civilians.

I prefer listening to being listened to.

I prefer having some ultimatums.

I prefer the heaven of chaos to the hell of order.

I prefer the what’s not to the what’s hot

I prefer leaving with hugs to arriving to kisses.

I prefer unchopped tales to truncated tweets.

I prefer truthful eyes, since mine are no good at lying.

I prefer writing bureaus.

I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here

to many things I’ve also left unsaid.

I prefer heroes you’ve never heard of

to those most feted figures you have.

I prefer the Time of  Tom Waits to the Time of New York’s Square.

I prefer to not step on the cracks.

I prefer not to ask how and why.

I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility

that persistence has its own way of navigating.

By (mainly) Wislawa Szymborska


Both sides now

Rows of bowls of Angel Delight and ice-cream hassle free without care

and warm weather companions everywhere that kept the clouds away.

But now they only sunblock their sons, who reign, and grow on everyone.

So many other things they might’ve done but doubts got in their way.

I’ve looked at your life’s dreams from both sides now, from now and then,

and still somehow it’s life’s hard won victories  I recall.

But I really don’t know your life at all.

Moons and Junes and ferries overseas, the dizzy dancing way that you feel

as every football fairy tale trip comes real; I’ve looked at your passions that way.

But now it’s us putting on the show. You leave ’em laughing as you go

Because you care, you let them know, but never give yourself away.

I’ve looked at your love from both sides now, from give and take,

and still somehow it’s your love’s inclusion I recall.

I really think I know your love most of all.

Here, with fears, but feeling proud, to say “I love you” right out loud,

ice-cream and streamers from the party crowd, I’m looking at your life this way.

And now old friends aren’t making strange, you shake their hands,

they say you haven’t changed.

Some have been lost but some others gained from living life faraway.

I’ve looked at your life from both sides now,

from win and lose, and still somehow

it’s your life’s quiet revolutions I recall.

I’m really beginning to know your life after all. ernie

The morning after…

My unsolicited parental advice

Go placidly amid the white noise and bodily waste, and remember what temporary peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without wearing suspenders be on good terms with most parents.

Speak your truth quietly and internally; even when sensationalist headlines and paranoid articles claim you’re part of the mythical conspiracy that hides it from other parents. And avoid listening to others too much, especially the dull and the ignorant; because unfortunately they like to overshare their story.

Avoid loud, aggressive, smug, overbearing, self-sanctified and over-earnest parents, they are vexatious to the spirit and mind-numbingly boring. If you compare yourself with others, you may become a pain or bitter, like me; for always there will be greater and lesser parents than yourself.  According to them anyway, though they’d never admit it directly.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your ridiculously futile plans like having an uninterrupted lie-in. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; even if it is a ‘menial’ job that you would one day like to graduate from into a ‘proper’ career accompanied by an entitlement to hang on to it, it is a real and valid aspiration in the unchanging fortunes of inequality.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of treat or trickery and you’ll probably run out of sweets by tea-time if you didn’t get enough or have eaten them all. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of unnecessary heroism. Like baby-led weaning and cup-cake baking.

Be yourself. Especially on-line, do not feign affection or over photoshop your pictures. We’ll know. Neither be cynical about parental love; for in the face of all this acidity and the ever-changing commandments, it is as perennial as the grass stains on the arse of your children’s best clothes.

Take mildly the counsel of your peers, reluctantly surrendering to the universal ‘truth’.  Whatever one they happen to be talking about this week.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  Such as your child breaking free to terrorise everyone through the aisles in Tesco. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings like leaving her there. Many potential blog posts are born of fatigue and loneliness. Sometimes boredom.  And occasionally the need to avoid the fridge, and the urge to hear the sound of my own voice.

Beyond a lack of physical discipline, be gentle with yourself. Yours is a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to expect the ‘village’ to present itself sometime soon to dig in and help look after it. Preferably on Friday nights.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt one of those universal truths is unfolding as it should: Justin from CBeebies really is disturbingly creepy.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Her to be (the childminder), and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep pace with your sole determination to write it all down. With all its sham, drudgery, vanities and fantasies, it is still a beautiful world wide web. Don’t be cheerless. Strive to be reasonably happy. Ah gwan. It’ll not kill you.

So long, Boss

Stop all the computers, cut off the telephone

Prevent the boss from barking with a juicy bonus

Silence the mobiles and with a muffin or bun

Bring out the coffee, let the lazy arses come

Let inane chortle from drones go over head

Dribble the blue sky thinking message She Was Inbred

Put crap ties around the white necks of the public servants

Let the stationery cabinet police wear black cotton pants

She was my wrath, my gout, my yeast infection, my stress

My working week and my Sunday pest

My noon cake, my midnight snack, my baulk, my thong

I thought that newbie probation period would last for ever: I was wrong

The Mars bars are not wanted now, put away every one;

Pack up the macaroon and dismantle the bun;

Pour away the ocean of coke and sweep up the bad mood

For something now might eventually come to good