Unintended Consequences

candlestick

Jack not so nimble,

Jack not so quick.

Jack failed to clear the lit candlestick.

Awake and unconscious,

They both took their turns,

A most tender place for those third degree burns.

He’s now held together with pieces of wire

And sings boy soprano for St Michael’s choir.

 

Stephen Tomkins
2 March 2016
Sydney

 With apologies to children everywhere…

Photo credit:
http://www.buzzle.com
kizaz.com

bull-leaping

Sorry For Being Born

The-Overly-Excited

Arrive at airport, cap in hand.
My bags are packed, my travel planned.
“Oh! The glamour!” you may think
But I’ll be treated like I stink!

As airline staff on cheap staff travel,
All careful plans will now unravel.
So I approach the hallowed desk
Where staff may check-in at their risk.

Like an insect, I am viewed
And told to wait in voices rude.
In holding pen, we congregate
And hopefully await our fate.

In muted tones, we quiz each other
And try obliquely to discover
Just where we fit into the list –
My category must be higher than this!

At last they start to call some names,
And so begin the churlish games.
Those lucky few will get on board,
The rest of us will sit here, bored.

Like music to my weary ears,
I hear my name as chaos clears.
They take my bag, give me a pass,
And tell me, “Move your bloody arse!”

I sprint now to the Customs queue.
Amidst the throng, I wrestle through.
On my watch, I check the time –
My God! How long’s this frappin’ line!

Finally, I get on board,
Wedged between two giants! Lord!
So strong the scent of garlic is,
There’ll be no vampires here for years!

I’ll need no seatbelt come what may:
Restrained by blubber, I will stay.
Come meal-time, there’ll be nothing left.
Cheap travel is a wondrous gift!

JHJ

Stephen Tomkins
7 January 2016
Sydney

Photo credits:

http://www.businessworldtravel.com
theegyptiantraveler.blogspot.com
acollectionofmusings.wordpress.com

Winners Are Whiners

313172_1344831622_harper-finch-lawyers

Doubters may just doubt and the haters may just hate,
But if you don’t get this right, I may have to litigate.
Excuses can be made and those waivers may be signed,
And legal advocation I may even have declined.
But now I have a lawyer and a famous one at that,
So if you don’t settle soon, we’ll do more than have a chat.
The High Court’s now the venue and it shouldn’t take too long:
You see, it really doesn’t matter whether you’ve been in the wrong,
‘Cos my lawyer’s a performer and she charges by the minute
So I may just be the loser even if my side should win it!

Stephen Tomkins
22 December 2015
Sydney

Photo Credits:
http://www.jobdescription101.com
www.criminallawyers.com.au

 

Holiday Cheer (or The Throne of Regret)

latenighteating_850732_n_lg

Last week (don’t you see?) at a quarter past three,
A solemn fridge-opening took place.
He stood there and looked, at the things raw and cooked,
With the blankest of looks on his face.

His arms stretched out wide, open doors at his side,
Silent, expectant, oblivious.
And yet, all the while, despite “MAX” on the dial,
The temperature crept up – quite insidious!

Having waited some time, in this unmoving mime,
Hoping something’d jump out for his meal,
He started to cough, as the food – it went off,
And his fate, in the end, he did seal.

Though the food tasted weird, and congealed on his beard,
His hunger outvoted his sense.
As the Holidays went, he began his descent,
In the bathroom, he made recompense!

Stephen Tomkins
3 January 2016
Sydney

A Whole New Hive

Black_Friday

The bees are buzzing once again,
But not with pollen do they fly –
Bearing coloured bags and then
They struggle airborne through the sky.
A strange new hive they occupy
And, just as busy as the last,
Seek new bargains on the sly.
With success, word travels fast.
Antennae touching once or twice,
Communication never stops.
Phones a-buzzing, very nice,
Though even that can’t top the shops!

The drones are, elsewhere, busy bees
While Queens are massing by the door.
The numbers build by twos and threes
Until it seems there can’t be more.
The doors are opened – hear the cheer!
Thus, the frenzy can begin!
Stand aside or feel the fear!
There’s bloodshed by the Bargain Bin!
A hornet’s nest has been disturbed:
“I saw that from across the store!!”
The staff look on quite unperturbed:
From whence they came there’s plenty more!

Stephen Tomkins
18 December 2015
Sydney

Picture credits:
www.thesun.co.uk
planmysite.com

The World (and Other Trivialities)

Earth-CC-Dreaming-in-the-Deep-South

I reach into my ancient bag,
My old umbrella, for to seek.
From disuse, it’s now a rag
And, when it rains, it’s sure to leak.

Of what use is the outside world?
Not air-conditioned like at home,
The elements against me hurled
If I decide outdoors to roam.

Why can’t the world be more serene?
It’s certainly a pleasant blue.
Vindictive, vengeful, it can seem,
Its violence is never through.

Torrential rain some people cop,
While others meet a baking drought.
Snow and ice – it doesn’t stop –
And howling winds our efforts flout.

Our greatest minds can surely do
Much better than they have ‘til now.
With climate change, perhaps it’s true?
We’ve made a start, so take a bow!

Stephen Tomkins
4 December 2015
Sydney

Picture credits:
moonshotpr.com
pics-about-space.com

Love Makes The World Go Round

love-makes-the-world-go-round-T-w1xz24

Prologue

It’s said, “Love makes the world go round”,
A lovely notion, to be sure,
But not at all what I have found –
The proof to clear to be ignored.

I

If, indeed, that were the truth,
You early lovers, take a bow!
Perhaps, at one time, in its youth,
The earth was cuboid, unlike now,

Or maybe flat. So after all,
The ancients knew more than they seemed,
When, off the edge, they feared they’d fall.
Their reputations now redeemed.

But that would mean they didn’t love
Enough to make the world a grape.
It hits me like an iron glove!
Start lovin’ lest the world reshape!

II

Love, it’s true, is well and good
But that’s not what propels the earth.
Incompetence misunderstood,
Second-rate, we should rebirth.

Imagine if, when jobs are done,
The work was perfect every time.
Standards checking, we could shun,
The world’s a whole new paradigm!

Yes, we’d save some time and cash,
But would we pay a diff’rent price?
Let’s think this through and not be rash,
It sounds, to me, like paradise!

If jobs were done right every time,
The work would get done twice as fast.
Costs would drop! It sounds just fine!
I think it’s all to good to last!

Need fewer workers – unemployed!
Consumer watchdogs – needed not!
And no more checkers – undeployed!
Lawyers, courts? No! Not a jot!

The unemployed ranks soon would swell,
And, perfectly, they’d do their work.
A consequence none could foretell:
All other work they’d surely shirk!

The health wealth tap would soon be plugged,
With Doctors curing every ill.
No more Doctors, Nurses, drugs,
And that would be a bitter pill.

World economies implode
As more and more are unemployed.
Lifestyles would then soon erode –
The Few delight in schadenfreude!

Incompetents would then rise up,
Restoring balance to the void.
Every time a job’s stuffed up:
More incompetents deployed!

A happy cycle then ensues:
With more work, more mouths we feed.
No more unemployment queues –
Incompetence is what we need!

So you see, my friends, in fact
It’s not love makes the world go round.
Shapeliness it does enact,
But shoddy work we should propound!

Stephen Tomkins
4 December 2015
Sydney

Picture credits:

indulgy.com
en.paperblog.com

Web of Deceit

 

The Webmaster spends all day in his web
And lingers there still when he heads off to bed.
He’s constantly adding or fixing up strands –
Incredible what he can do without hands!
Like moths to a flame, we’re all drawn to his skill
But when we get stuck, he moves in for the kill.

Go near to one link and all will be fine,
Go near to another, and then, by design,
After the Webmaster hacks you to shreds,
He’ll leave you to hang there on old webbish threads.
And though you may think that he’s there to assist,
There’s really no point in attempts to resist.

The Server’s another who plays his own games:
Impassive, unreachable, serves us, he claims.
Protocols, scripts and his own endless jargon,
If allowed to logon we must think it’s a bargain!
All pretence of freedom is just a sick joke:
Make the wrong move and your cash turns to smoke!

The Webmaster, though, is the one we must heed
And live by his opaque and meaningless creed.
With eight bulbous eyes and his striped, hairy legs,
He’ll have you for breakfast and savour the dregs.
You never know when he’ll get more hunger pangs,
So I suggest you stay alert for his fangs!

Stephen Tomkins
7 November 2015
Shanghai

spiderinweb

Down Among The Dead Men

flash-and-the-pan-down-among-the-dead-men

“Down among the dead men,” droned the song.
How could they get it so terribly wrong?
So sexist and so morbid too!
It clearly needs a whole redo!

We all know people will pass away,
And sometimes they get led astray,
But female persons all need inclusion –
“PerSONS! Don’t need that confusion!

People of the female kind?
Yes, that’s better, I think you’ll find.
“Down” – that word will never do!
There’s implication there, quite taboo!

“Down” suggests there must be “up”,
So please don’t drink that poisoned cup!
Paternalistic condescension!
No! Level playing field by convention!

“Dead” is clearly too judgemental.
It seems to me more incremental.
So, how would I rewrite that line?
It took some time to redefine:

“People of the non-female kind
Communing in peace and harmony
In a state inconsistent with being fully alive,
While affirming the choice of each
To abandon hierarchical stereotypes.”

(With apologies to Flash and the Pan)

Stephen Tomkins
Perth
29 October 2015

Derided Nations

topics_unitednations_395

Not that long ago, in the great scheme of things,
A group of Prime Ministers, Presidents, Kings,
Concluded the world could be far safer place
If they frequently met and discussed face to face
The problems and issues that each of them felt
Could only by unified measures be dealt.

And so, they created a wondrous place
Where each could speak freely, without losing face.
They haggle and barter and argue and then,
Reach an agreement, start over again:
One of the Big Shots disrupts with a veto,
Sinking all Progress, just like a torpedo!

Despite all our talk and our self-exaltation,
We’re only attuned to the wants of our nation.
And so, they continue to meet in New York,
With pomp and with grandeur and barrels of pork!
Hope for the future? It seems, not a lot.
For better or worse, they’re the best that we’ve got!

Stephen Tomkins
21 September 2015

Singapore