About Alan Reynolds

Poet born and raised in North Carolina and now after a sojourn in England a long-time resident of the Netherlands. More than 3,000 poems, many published in US and UK literary magazines and on CD and in books.

High Ranking POSSE Leaders Deny Eating the Poor

Senior members of POSSE (Party Of Singularly Selfish Entitlements) today hotly denied charges of eating the poor. A spokesman said, ‘These insinuations are criminal and ridiculous. I would not touch a poor if one fell down in front of me, much less even think about eating one. Just because we make laws in secret doesn’t mean they are undemocratic. Our new ways and means bill is a good example. It mandates that anyone regardless of race, sex or religion who has a net worth of less than $5,000 for three consecutive years gets recycled into products clearly marked Unfit for Human Consumption and sold as pet food.’

Christian Robots Now Available

Alms-And-Zen are bringing out a line
of Christian robots good at herding crowds.
When you ask these robots, ‘What would Jesus do?’
they divine and answer what you want to hear
and supply out-of-context supporting bits of scripture
to use against any critics you still have.
They are seriously pious looking. They resemble
the obsequious nervously frowning you-know-who
that dances attendance on the Spurious Leader.
They’re not for sale but on a five-year lease
at 70K per month including updates.
Pro tip: get a pair for only 120K.

King Harold Prepares for Norman Conquest

King Harold can not say droit de seigneur,
he will have to wait for William for that term,
but by then he will not need it anyway.

‘I will put up with you,’ his Fayre Queene said,
‘so long as you but serve volley peasant wenches,
but, turn a page, or try it on the livestock
and you’re out on your Wessex, king or not.’

Wincing while his wife applied the woad,
Harold, turning blue, faced up to day.

His knights and troopers worried him. They should:
they were a melting pot, a mishmash of all sorts
who sort themselves in what had been pure Britain.

It was not just the Saxons in the South,
the Angles in the East and bloody Wessex
with its self-proclaimed West Saxons, Harold mused.

The ancient Cantii calling their turf ‘Kent’
were taking sites away from Southwest Saxons,
who did the same to Brits along the Tamar,
and Mercians in the Midlands — a messy mixture
of Druid huggers, Saxons and Olde Brits.

He shook his head and shivered in the cold,
lay back and thought of Angleland and moaned.

There are places, Harold thought, where I’m said to rule
that I would not want to visit on a bet:
Northumbria, and rugged Denelaw —
for centuries Scandinavian to boot
and Danish long before brave King Canute
made waves there. They’re less Christian than my cat.
Pretenders! Old Religion. Odin. Thor!

Allegiance pledged to me, the king of London’s scent?

Would they adhere to me had I a pant,
the kind one wears? Two Nations! Maybe pants?

Earls Edwin (of Northumbria) and Macar
(of Mercia) ignore me. We’ll be conquered.

Or conkered: we play war on playing fields
that successors may surround with public schools.

I’m fighting William with but half an army,
that half that’s naked, blue, and largely barmy.

Swamp Stoat

[This is an experimental, 100-lines-so-far beginning of something: fantasy? mythology? ecology? fable? animal story?]

Squirrels of mercy, vagrant eagles,
and a swamp god’s left-out stoat
share a moment of communion
drawing straws for Joseph’s coat.

Vibrant, bleach-proof lurid colours
draw the vagrant eagles’ gaze.
This allows the swamp god’s stoat to
steal a march and lease a maze

that it bids the squirrels to enter.
Oozing mercy they comply.
Up start eagles. Down-filled fissures
in the mazes’ duckboards try

to mislead the squirrels of mercy
delving deeper in the maze
of amazing grates of hearsay
and of other dubious ways.

Snapping from their hue-dazed centre
the eagles charge into the sky.
Gyring higher, their wings flail
the frozen paths where jet planes fly.

Soaring raptors riding updrafts,
flaring feathers of their tails
shred off fragments of the contrails
lucid diamonds in the sky.

Up start eagles. Down-filled fissures
in the duckboards of the maze
whisper clues devoid of meaning
to the squirrels whose feats amaze

the fishes, sloths and teddies sluicing
on the maze’s Escher side,
in dimensions no deducing
can make real. Illusions glide

up the nostrils of the lost.
They begin hallucinating
that the no-name goat is host
to a mage elucidating

why and how the ways though many
keep reducing when they’re measured
till what’s left is less than any
chance for exit though that’s treasured.

Greedy eagles flail at contrails,
lucid diamonds in the sky.
Peering down they plot the faint trails
through the veiled maze as squirrels try

to elicit Lucy’s meaning
if there was one. Failing there
the squirrels seek exits from the leaning
maze wall of the swamp stoat’s lair.

The swamp stoat, laird of maze and hirer
of successes to the needy,
cannot tolerate the slyer
vagrant eagles turning greedy.

Greedy eagles savour stoat stew.
That’s a fact the swamp stoat heard
often, when small, from his mother.
Grown up, he’d thought that absurd.

But, he thinks, since they are vagrant,
forever gyring with no home,
will these raptors find him fragrant?
Frightening vicious spectres roam

in what stoats presume is thinking.
the stoat enters the maze himself.
Through the maze mist he sees blinking
mercy candles on a shelf,

and vicious fishes, and torn teddies
from an office Christmas fete,
and a sloth that’s never ready.
These are the things that congregate

in the centre where the maze is
often entered, seldom left.
That’s to say, the part where daisies
grow amok and green, bereft

first of mercy, then direction.
Fishes, teddies, and sloth tarry
there awaiting benediction
or some happy chance to marry

up with guiding lights who’ll lead them
to the maze’s outer edge,
failing that, to guides who’ll feed them
during their stumbling through the hedge

that surrounds the maze’s centre.
The hedge blocks progress, makes them lame.
Then they meet the stoat’s dissenter:
it’s the goat without a name.

How to hail this holy goat?
She’s a ewe, perhaps a granny.
Trying for a cheery note,
the sloth stage-whispers, slowly, ‘Nanny’.

[I need to add more here, the goat being a false ‘prophet, profit’.]

Chinless, pretty like a sea lion
although fishes beg to differ
approaches from the maze’s tree line
the esteemed solution giver.

Neither mercy squirrel nor eagle
nor a sloth nor stoat nor even
Spot, the first grade’s favourite beagle,
it’s the orca Splendid Steven.

Steven steals a march and razes
the maze walls. The creatures roam
free of where the sly stoat hazes.
Even the eagles find a home.

Unrule

There has been no definite proof yet that we’re not immortal.

Our whisper jet screams ‘foul’ and smokes the cabin.

We are tenuous if anything. We belt
our seats. The First Class stewardess has no face.

Here in steerage we each get a turn to steer.

The joysticks they give us aren’t connected
to anything, we learn, except each other.

We would walk away like kings if we could stand.

The stewardess comes back and drops a comment:
‘Your joysticks,’ she says, ‘are also guns.’

We route and toot and shoot out all the windows.