London

by Robert Gould

He says: “the escalator’s down”.
You’re going to have to walk it.

I say that’s fine by me because
I’m still going up.

No escalators back home –
just a crutch to keep you standing

still, I’m going up
even when going underground.

Pride

by Robert Gould

I tried and failed
to apply the veil
and finally choose a side,

I’ve done all I can
to create a man
that no labels could divide.

Those who know me best
would love me less
if I suddenly found Pride.

With a ploy to bribe
those within your tribe,
it’s strange the gap can feel so wide.

Bricks For Brains!

By Robert Gould

Inspired by the superlative journalism of Samantha Brick. 

A waifish thing named Madeline
regarded her imported wine
with joy that was too strong to shift –
it surely was the perfect gift!

But if the host should not like red
all fears of woe were put to bed
by John who acted in advance,
procuring chocolates from France.

Within the porch they rang the bell,
sharing smiles that could only swell.
The pair was with excitement thick
to see their friend Samantha Brick.

When greeted with her grace and mirth
you must admire her modest girth.
A hourglass with golden locks
towards which the male gaze still flocks.

With candles lit and table set,
each need of every guest was met.
But all John and his wife could think
was of a stronger kind of drink…

He cleared his throat to show his host
the wine he was so proud to boast.
Samantha buckled at the knees
and screamed: “Think of the calories!”

Another guest became irate.
“I can’t afford to put on weight!
My wife says if I’m less than trim
She shall divorce me on a whim!”

As this man became unstable,
anger stirred around the table.
Who knew that wine could cause such rage?
Was this all part of middle age?

Madeline blushed at Sam’s sharp glance,
hiding the chocolates from France.
Her host enquired: “What’s on your lap?”
She saw, then screamed: “What is this crap?”

“To be fat is to fail at life!
I’d rather make love to a knife!
Leave my home, you disgusting apes.
You forfeit your dessert of grapes.”

The pair were stirred and quickly left.
Of their three grapes they were bereft.
Conversation turned to diet tips.
Samantha chewed on their grape pips.

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What A King

by Robert Gould

Days spent at my mirror
preparing for you
(my hair, these clothes, botched encounters with tan)
were a waste of my time.

I should have learnt a new word,
a new way to describe what I felt –
it was real, like the smile I will wear
when you wave and you walk

hand in hand with the one.
I could not see it when you left,
only now it is clear:
I am the window you look through to admire the sun.

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A Philistine Observes “The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke”

Richard_Dadd_-_The_Fairy_Feller's_Master-Stroke_-_Google_Art_Project

(Click to enlarge.)

By Robert Gould

Sail plainly, please!
We cannot afford
to slip, to lose our stony gaze

All others wince
and drown at the depths
we drink to quench unrivalled thirst

We focus in.

Characters born
from a mind in flight,
corrupted as the base colours

beaten, broken
eaten, devoured
by us in an echoing hall.

And all but two
are born from this mind.
This calms our own, our fragile frame

is still afraid
to learn how little
we know, his daunting layers scowl

and hint at an
iceberg-style truth we
missed in our hesitance to guess.

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Groningen

by Robert Gould 

It was the first time that the grass was greener
we traveled so far in so many ways
brought to a marquee with our young names on it
we met and we laughed like the family we were

All caught up in the garden of Holland

The sweet Dutch sun must have heard my wishes,
melting work and play into the same glass
a call was looming and we couldn’t wait
to take the stage and prove we were worth it

Strain to hear my cue over my own heart
a baton is passed and it’s my turn to run
an audience willing to eat from my hand
I tear through a song for their town mayor

I talk to him after, both of us in awe
He is one of many praising our show
High-fives and group hugs begin to surround
With copious champagne we toasted and drank

I tried to pretend this wasn’t a novelty.

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