Just heard via an Austrian news outlet that one of our favourite cafes in Vienna is about to close ūüė¶

me-in-greinsteidl-cafe - Edited

Oh Griensteidl, you oasis

of pale stone,

dual chambers furnished in plush

and wood the shade of black forest cherry,

your heart robust,

with diplomatic waiters all hush

and bustle,

blood vessels leading

to the cool marbled counter top

to pour the Gr√ľner Veltliner,¬†

whipping off the reserved

sign on one treasured occasion,

bowing in plain sight of a

a miscalculated tip–

Oh Griensteidl,

your dark mahogany cabinet

of mouth-watering schnittes an old master’s

altarpiece to Esterhazy–a history so finely

layered it rivals Sisi’s crinoline petticoats.

On my last visit, there I was, 


with my starry empress

hair clips as prettily faux

as those overblown Klimts

gracing¬†your walls–

now all of that is just a faded echo

in an empty hall of

stacked chairs and orphaned tables,

no more majestic doors

laden with epaulets of polished brass

to push against and sigh inwards–

closed forever by Do & Co–

making devoted patrons fear

Americans might invade like

another Red Army and ruin Michaelerplatz

with throwaway cups–

that dignified quarter where fiakers queue

to shake up tourists over cobbles,

and Adolf Loos will weep tears

from every window box

while the old palace colossi

groan and quake,

for in that very special corner,

there will no longer be cake.



Unpatriotic Tribute to the Leader of the Commons


She is telling us off,

her replicant head

overblown on the screen–

about to spark and implode

like faulty white goods

midway through a Red Planet dystopia,

her delivery as robotic as Bad Maria’s,

spinning into profit of doom,

tongue printing nothing of value

but eternal parking tickets,

mouse-skin brows

tracing their own arch imperial 

above those swivelling eyes

set in a mummy’s skin

papyrus thin–

and how she caves in

when we are mean to her,

tears of a bankrupt

decanted from a municipal drinking

fountain rusted at core,

selfish ducts,

that soon spring into action,

running down a costly fascia,

devoid of empathy,

mean fuschia mouth,

a candy machine

twisting out platitudes

with the conviction politics of a Goebbels wife,

while deep down inside,

all she can think is how jolly brave of her

to keep the flag waving.







Unpatriotic Tribute to the Leader of the Commons

As Dead As

dodo-picture - EditedWrote this last month for Rattle’s ekphrastic challenge, but I’ve just found out it didn’t win, so I get to post it here, yay!


Yet not quite–note my spritely pose,

facing the same direction

as the blunderbuss of yore

that brutally de-feathered me,

and although this place

makes me look a little cagey,

I’m doing my very best

to locate the fire escape

in this labyrinth

of smouldering ash–a last hoorah

for an end of line demise

more poignant than Cock Robin’s

or the Norwegian Blue,

but please don’t call me cuckoo,

or rate me antediluvian,

because that would only raise

my non-existent ruff

and make me less inclined to share

any racey Victorian secrets–

although my deserted nest

is full of bric-a-brac,

my bird brain is still wired to

a wake-up call courtesy

of Edgar Allan Poe,

the code word being ‚Äėextinct‚Äô–

and despite everything,

I can show you how to rock

a unique hollow-eyed

look by adopting the sort of livery

any nihilistic boulevardier might envy,

(no awkward flab to ruin the

silhouette) and also provide

consultations after hours,

while tapping at my reflection

in the kinky smoke and mirrors

of this bijou bo√ģte, ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

so everyone can admire

my punk-flamingo armature

instagram’d for eternity.


As Dead As

A Dance Around the May Poll


She wants to take hold of

our human rights,

and squeeze them in her 

lacquered fist–but¬†really

this tourniquet of spite

from a resentful headmistress

dishing out the daily blame

in school assembly,

is nothing but a despot’s

distraction technique to

cover up her own past failings,

now returning to haunt,

like a fox finding its way back

to a pungent den.

And as her devoted husband,

in his role as Accessory-in-Chief,

sources a necklace to

match her latest statement,

his hand is hovering

over a death’s head pendant,

nestling in the pit 

of a casket lined with lead.


A Dance Around the May Poll

Silver Birch (1927)


She stands alone,

on her plinth–lost in a dream,

gazing over the steppe,

through the forest, into the wilderness

and how frail she looks,

with those supple limbs,

her burnished skin so delicate

along jut of collar bone,

hands lost in shivering sleeves,

delicate foliage barely covering

her orphan frame,

assailed on all sides

by the harsh Siberian winds,

feet and ankles

stubbornly rooted in a romantic past,

her hair reflecting the billows

of the racing clouds above.

She stands there,

for all to see,

defiant to the last,

before the grey wagons

of the politburo

roll in to take her down.



Silver Birch (1927)



Building mausoleums to the past

is all we are good for–

chiselling out the warped

features of dead well-knowns,

slotting them into stone with angel wings stuck on,

making them the centrepiece of

every municipal flowerbed,

their waxwork smiles inspiring day-trippers

pouring off the heritage steam railway,

that runs like clockwork on Saturdays and Sundays,

and is lovingly cared for–the rails polished

every morning.

On a far flung industrial estate,

the old knife and fork foundry,

known for its finely crafted bone handles,

has been relocated overseas, along with a few biscuit factories,

and in its place, a bijou outlet run by a start-up charity

with mission statement wrought above the gate,

imploring us to work for free.

Nearer to home,

halfway down the brutalist shopping precinct,

an unbuttoned Wetherspoon’s drunk

has just declared his intention to slash

on a crate of knock-off goods,

placed against the wall of the Value Pharmacy,

where it is cheaper these days to treat your headache

ague, or terminal condition. No-one intervenes–

afraid their box-fresh trainers might get splashed.

They’re selling blinkers on street corners now,

for nervous consumers,

as well as hawking finger-spinners

to fill the existential¬†anxiety gap–

and the local rag has learnt from its betters

how to trumpet a variety of¬†fake news–

about the anti-dairy marketing board

promising to bring back the long-necked milk bottle

as well as the death penalty.

Hipsters brew for hours

inside the newly-opened artisan bakery,

publicly fuming over the fate of some bi-polar

minke whales adrift off the Suffolk coast,

or the proposed fracking of designated picnic

areas in the New Forest–

such a shame their social media emissions

cannot be converted into

renewables as the Brexit powers that be,

including right-wing liars and climate change deniers

predict a new energy crisis much worse than

the one we had in the 70’s and soon

it will be imperative for

all the earth’s seams to be opened up,

so that little children can learn

how to be chimney sweeps again.



Wear Your Hat and I’ll Eat It For You

Bit of a weird one. If anyone else subscribes to ‘Dangerous Minds’ on Facebook, you’ll know where I got inspiration from (partly)¬†ūüôā

Please Note: Adult Content 


Young man,

you are eating pizza and

sitting indoors,

while wearing a Yankees’ baseball cap,

curved brim turned to the back,

as you tackle the

split lip of sour dough on your

thick white plate.

Can I take it off your head

or will something come away,

some vital organ, gizzards,

what-not–perhaps even your Mojo?

Too dangerous, then.

I saw a photo once,

of a young woman, eyes half shut,

captured mid-orgasm,

her mouth a slack, elongated hole

just like yours,

but no sour dough

posted inside– yet she wore a hat,

the brim describing

a swooping parabola of ecstasy,

shading her eyes in hippy velour,

perhaps even stolen

from a Beatle groupie’s wardrobe

ending up in a thrift store,

provenance traced back more than

four decades. People with bare heads

once considered uncouth,

easier to spot than a sleek starling

leaving exclamation marks on a polished sea

of city bowlers.

What we choose to wear,

merely wayward signposts

in a no man’s land,

telling stories to others,


in case we look too samey,

and we all have something to declare,

–especially while eating pizza,

or revealing our beatific state to camera

on automated¬†release–

we need to frame that moment,

with our hats on–before the tide wipes us out.


Wear Your Hat and I’ll Eat It For You