Bland On Bland – Machines

Photo By Jools Thatcher
Photo By Jools Thatcher

The theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method poem is “Machine”. This is the second attempt, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a perfect subject for us to revisit the neighbourhood.

Ed Bates is once again on guitar duties this week (thanks, as always)

Play this poem directly in your browser! Just click the “play” button below:

Also have a listen to my album “Drifter


To label “Pig” Mills lazy was not to pay him his due
Like branding Hitler as naughty or equating Ebola with flu

All movement approached with reluctance, so dormant he was almost Zen
His Mum still cut up his dinner and his Dad had to click down his pen

For Christmas he wanted a wheelchair; not most kids idea of a gift
He refused to climb up to the tree house; Made “Spanner” build him a lift

Too young to drive, to idle to walk, and school was a five minute hike
So he’d pay “Squirrel” Tyrrell six aniseed balls to dink him home on his bike

His passion, bar food, was sci-fi comics, like most other kids his age
He’d lie on his bed, yell out to his mum to come in and turn the page

He became obsessed with teleportation; wormholes he thought were a winner
Scooting around without moving a muscle, teleporting from breakfast to dinner

When Great Uncle Claude left him some money, “Pig”, now as mad as a hatter
Commissioned “Spanner” to build a machine, a machine for transporting matter

“Spanner” Chaplee was a genius, and a challenge he found hard to resist
Billy carts – Yes, Shanghais- No problem – but something that doesn’t exist?

Still, “Pig” agreed to pay up front so “Spanner” agreed to get started
“Genius” it’s said “Does what it must” “A fool and his money, soon parted”

He began with a coffin his father had swapped for a gear box to fit an FJ
Ivory white, brass plated handles and lined with gold lame?

A vacuum cleaner, some Christmas lights, dry ice to imitate smoke
A tank of Nitrous Oxide he’d nicked when the dentist went broke

From a Spitfire, an instrument panel, picked up at the clearing sales
A gramophone player with a 78 of mating calls of sperm whales

“Pig” struggled into the coffin, pulled down his goggles, saluted
The poor old grunter only climbed three steps, already you could see he was rooted

“Squirrel” turned on the smoke and lights, fastened the lid with some string
While “Spanner” wound up the phonograph of the sperm whales doing their thing

The vacuum pumped in nitrous oxide, soon “Piggy” was out to brunch
Chirping away, teleporting through space, a few Brady’s short of a bunch

The coffin they chucked on the Billy Cart, which they rode down the hill like a sled
The idea, freewheel to “Pig’s” house and have him wake up in his bed

Halfway down, disaster struck, their cart ran over a nail
With no chance of lifting the coffin and “Pig” the lads decided to bail

They dumped their load in Smyth’s front yard, intending, at night, to retrieve
“Spanner” at least took off the lid so “Pig” would be able to breathe

At dusk, Mrs Smyth went to water the roses, screamed, nearly dying of fright
There was the coffin, “Pig” naked and smiling, arms crossed, out like a light

She thought he was dead, until her basenji, Bruce, pranced up for a sniff
Mrs Smyth noted, to her disgust, only part of the body was stiff

No-one can say with certainty where “Pig’s” subconscious had gone
Let’s just say, deep inside, apparently whales turned him on

Mrs Smyth shrieked, as she turned on the hose “You pervert I’ve called the police”
“Pig” rapidly “rematerialised”, spluttering “I come in peace”

He told the whole fantastic story, which “Spanner” and “Squirrel” denied
He was, he deduced in a parallel world – either that or “Spanner” had lied

Mrs Smyth was persuaded not to press charges, the police affirmed the request
“Pig” was transported, body in tact, for what family described as “a rest”

Since no-one laid claim to the coffin, Mrs Smyth was offered the box
It proved quite a hit as planter, filled with Sweet Peas, Freesia’s and Phlox

“Pig” returned home more docile than usual, treatment, they said, was complete
He never got over his fetish for whales but at least he could cut his own meat

“Pig” broached the subject with “Spanner” but once. “You’ve no idea where I’ve been”
“I was sent by your twin from another dimension and I need you to build a machine”

© Copyright 2010 Ian Bland

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