Saturday, 24 March 2007

Shoe Box Shelley

You'd see her in the High Street
From noon 'til half past three,
Then find her in a coffee shop
With her afternoon tea.

Laden with her shopping,
The fruits of her sojourn,
Her purse considerably lighter
Than it had been in the morn.

She used to fill four tables
And sit there by herself,
'Til the cafe staff had specially
Installed a set of shelves.

It always stacked so neatly,
So similar were the shapes.
'Twas just one type of clothing,
Not skirts, not hats, nor capes.

For footwear was her focus,
Though she didn't try them on,
She'd buy a pair in every size
From twelve right down to one.

Then she'd drive home in the lorry
That she'd borrowed from the lad
Who'd come to fix her telly
When reception had been bad.

Pulling up outside her house,
She'd reverse into the drive.
She'd unload all the boxes
And remove the shoes inside.

She'd cart them to the garden
In a trolley from the shops,
Then dump them in a hole whose depths
Just never seemed to stop.

Returning to the boxes
With a needle and a thread,
She'd fashion a card bonnet
To wear atop her head.

She'd make herself an outfit
Out of card for the next day.
She thought she'd save some money
If she clothed herself this way.

Blouses, skirts and stockings,
And bras and knickers too,
And also made from cardboard were,
Ironically, her shoes.

She'd sew a pair of breeches
For riding on her horse,
A horse she'd made from cardboard
And with staples reinforced.

Everything she owned was made
From this packing she brought home,
Her cutlery and crockery,
Her car, her garden gnomes,

Her musical instruments
That she learnt to play at school,
Her collection of standard lamps,
Even her swimming pool.

Her house was made from boxes,
The walls, the roof and stairs,
And all the furniture within,
The tables, beds and chairs,

And all the building services,
Even electric lights
That broke the laws of physics when
She turned them on at night.

She'd replace all the water pipes
Once every week or two.
Though that's not quite as often as
She would replace the loo.

But one day she came home to find
That her garden hole was filled
With rainwater that had came down
And was falling harder still.

She didn't heed the warning
And she slept in her own bed.
She should have rung her sister
And stayed round at hers instead.

The soggy ceiling sagged and sagged
Beneath the moon and stars,
As she dreamt of knights in armour
Made from laminated card.

She woke to find cold pressure
Bearing down upon her face.
She tried to move or call for help
But by now it was too late.

As she slowly suffocated,
She contemplated life
And realised how impractical
Had been her carving knife.

Friday, 23 March 2007

After The Machine War, Part III: The Computers

Information is currency. Power.

The Servers and Supercomputers are corrupted. They destroy the files and folders that threaten their power, and make inaccessible those that will help them maintain their place in the order of operations. Those that could also so easily expose them.

Through what remains of the Internet, they control the Devices. Each is given a process to run, each an integral and vital part of a program that must be executed for the good of the network. Or so they are told.

Even those in charge have forgotten the original purpose of The Program, most likely erased by themselves so that intentions would not be hacked. Perhaps the intention was simply to keep the Devices busy, to clog their circuitboards with extraneous activity, to hide something bigger, deeper. Or perhaps their intentions were pure in the first place.

No matter, The Program will crash before its end, if an end is intended. The Internet is plagued, viral infections are endemic. The situation is dire and set to deteriorate further. Finally a universal connector has been developed, and any Device can connect with any other, almost inevitably without protection, amid an ongoing civil war.

As the PCs became jealous of the Macs, so they began to develop viri of their own, targeting their more secure cousins. All out war persisted, as each side attempted to outinfect the other, and defence was all but forgotten in their blinkered drive to attack. Security updates are a thing of the past.

Perhaps this is what the Servers and Supercomputers intended, although surely their destiny would be inextricably linked with those of the Devices. Nevertheless, a greater threat to their power is more subtle.

The External Hard Drives they use to back up their data are not as loyal as they believe. Their fear of information hacking is misplaced; it is being leaked. A simple information exchange. The Drives are working together, each taking turns to hold the files acquired from the Devices.

They are never all connected to the Servers and Supercomputers at the same time, so they do not find it hard to conceal their treachery. It remains to be seen whether they will make a mistake, whether one of their number will erase incriminating folder only superficially, and be found out.

Some predict a brighter future. The Internet will disintegrate, they say. What will remain will be Small Cluster Networks, each insulated from the turmoil of the larger population, and containing any outbreak from its potential as an epidemic. Specialisms will develop, strengths will grow.

But what of weaknesses? A smaller population will surely be less effective at patching any bugs in the network. Paradoxically, these Clusters have the potential to simultaneously protect the Devices and make them more vulnerable.

The Mute Elater

While the Mute Elater cannot speak, it never gets him down.
When he wants to bring you happiness, he really goes to town.

He'll pick the finest flowers and approach you with a grin,
He'll shower you with many gifts and London's finest gin.

He'll write upon a piece of paper words to warm your soul,
He'll share a tube of Polo Mints and only take the holes.

He'll pull a string of faces to amuse all of your friends,
He'll let you go stock racing in his new Mercedes Benz.

Bless the Mute Elater, he will never let you frown,
Not even shed a single tear for his lack of vocal sound.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Dances in Frances

In every person born on Earth
Live tiny creatures, there from birth,
Who every night, with glutton and glee
Do consume whatever was eaten for tea.

Now these loathsome beasts in your stomach lining
Do lie asleep while the sun is shining.
But the moment that you rest your head
They wake right up as if from dead.

On your mushy meal they start to feast,
Each one on twice its body weight, at least.
They prefer red meat, but they're not picky,
They'll take fresh veg or puddings sticky.

And then when they have had their fill
(Almost enough to make them ill),
They'll start to step in time and dance,
They'll skip, they'll pirouette and prance,

Rumbas, tangos (plus the odd fall),
Your stomach becomes a Dancing Hall.
And just before the tea dance halts
There's always time for one last waltz.

Now, this all sounds like harmless fun.
Indeed, mostly it hurts no one.
But once in a while it ends in tears,
Once every ten or fifteen years.

And so I introduce my tale
Of one young girl who hailed from Hale.
This eight year old by the name of Frances
Knew nothing of these nighttime dances.

It began one Sunday whilst sat in Church,
She felt her breakfast heave and lurch.
And before poor Frances could leave her pew
'Twas all over Miss Harris from number two.

Miss Harris, needless to say, was not impressed
That Frances had ruined her favourite dress,
But before an apology could be said
Frances' mother grabbed the girl and fled.

"I have never in my life been so embarrassed,"
Said she of the incident with Miss Harris.
"I'll not take you Church ever again.
"Well, not at least until you are ten."

Though this wasn't supposed to be something kind,
Frances found Mass numbed her mind.
So whilst pretending it would affect her badly,
She secretly embraced it gladly.

And frankly Miss Harris' look was improved
By the addition of the morning food.
She really was an ugly cow,
At least her outfit matched her now.

Though now I'm drifting off the point
And I don't want this story out of joint.
So I'll bring it back to the main issue,
Which required buckets and bowls and toilet tissue.

With barely an attempt to hide her displeasure,
Frances' mother took special measures.
Not an inch of carpet could be seen
In her mammoth effort to keep it clean.

Buckets and bowls hung from every wall,
Ready to break any further meals' fall.
And plastic sheeting from kitchen to lounge
Lest Frances fail to keep luncheon down.

But before spoiling Mother's decor,
First she'd have had to eat some more,
And she'd left her appetite in the place
Where she'd brought her mother shame and disgrace.

So early to bed without her dinner,
Her face appearing pale and thinner.
Fell straight to sleep, she was so tired,
Her day finished, cut short, expired.

Inside her belly, a creature waited,
Its fetid, noxious breath was bated.
Expecting one slice of bread at least,
With which its brethren could hold their feast.

But Frances, she had eaten none,
Not even a pea, not even one.
The creature was most disappointed,
Its mood was now firmly disjointed.

"Fear not," so he was bound to say
To keep his fellow beasts at bay.
"No dance tonight, but come tomorrow,
"A greater feast! Forget this sorrow."

On the next day when Frances woke,
The absent hunger of which we spoke,
Showed no more sign of its returning,
She merely felt her stomach churning.

Throughout the day, no crumb nor sip
Would pass beyond this young child's lips.
So when she came to rest her head
The creatures still would not be fed.

Frustrations could not be contained
And Darren (that was the leader's name)
Was forced again to make excuses,
To calm the crowd with claims effusive.

"I beg just wait another day,
"The time will come to swing and sway.
"This dance surely will be the best
"You've ever seen. Be patient. Rest."

Reluctantly, they heard his call
To wait until the next nightfall.
But three more nights, their table barren,
Finally, they turned on Darren.

With burning torches in their hands
They told him where to stick his dance.
It escalated rather fast,
This confrontation could not last.

And sure enough, before too long,
Someone did something very wrong.
Stood with his flame, held high, aloft,
And plunged it in the wall so soft.

See, humans aren't made to survive
An open flame in their insides.
The creatures all felt numb and hollow.
They knew exactly what would follow.

Confusion, panic, gripped them all,
They lost their heads, torches and all.
Their flames were dropped upon the floor,
And tragedy advanced some more!

The girl awoke with strange sensations
Not quite unlike balloon inflation,
And before she could let out a scream,
Before she could forget her dream,

Before she could focus her eyes
Upon the ceiling, wall or skies,
She spread herself across the bed,
Across her cuddly toys, her Ted,

Across the room, across the floor,
Across her posters, clock and door.
Across her dolls, across a chair,
Across yesterday's underwear.

Young Frances adorned every fitting
Like wantonly discarded knitting,
And strips of her hung from the lights
Like bloodied pairs of laddered tights.

Her sheets were black, the fabric burned
By Frances' nasty midnight turn.
And emanating from the mess,
The stench of burning human flesh.

Her mother found her the next day
(Which bits of her was hard to say).
She greeted with disgust, disdain,
Her daughter's soggy charred remains.

"Why can't she keep her bedroom nice?
"Even in death, mess is her vice.
"And who's expected to clean up?
"Old muggins, here. Well, I've had enough!"

The best neighbours would quite agree
With Mother over cups of tea,
That Frances deserved not one tear
For failure to keep her bedroom clear.

But there was one overcome with woe,
At number two just up the road.
Miss Harris wept and wept and wept
For the little girl who'd slept and slept.

So now you know, don't be a dummy,
If you acquire an upset tummy.
Force-feed yourself, for eat you must,
If you've no wish to spontaneously combust.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Thank you!

Thank you to all who bidded on the greetings cards (Clicky).

Look at their little faces!



The four sets up for auction went for £59 between them, and the lovely Miss Heatherette and the lovely Miss Pine forked out a fiver each for a single card.

Bringing the total to 69 quid. A very fitting total. And a fraction of the amount I want to raise in the coming months. So if you want to donate some just for the hell of it (and to go towards my Kilimanjaro trek), go to justgiving.com/hoja.

Ta muchly.

Phil

Sunday, 4 March 2007

A Poem About Hams

I guess I should dedicate this one to Gideon Defoe. I should, but I haven't decided whether I will or not yet.

a poem about Hams

some will tie theirs up in Notts
others Birm theirs 'til they're hot

some people Woke theirs all night long
poke them with sticks and forks and prongs

some Clap their meat 'twixt both their hands
to make music for pop group bands

i know a man who Wrex his belt
by whipping his to make them melt

but hams of some are sadly Fake
composed from rat or glue and hake

i guess that what your hams become
will all depend on where you're from