Goats like it when you smile at them,

a new study says.
The pigs couldn’t care less
when we stood
staring at them in the rain
while your cousin made chicken noises
and you sucked on a carrot rice cake
and your other cousin chased alpacas
and a duck had a bath
and a rusty wheelbarrow sprouted daisies
and the torn muscle in my leg
forgot it was on fire.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

The ashes of Fredric J Baur, inventor of the Pringles tube, are buried inside a Pringles tube

I’ve never wanted to be a human
who is known for one thing.
When I am asked
about things I enjoy or am proud of
I feel a hand tightening around my throat.
I don’t know whose it is
but it looks a little like mine or the man who said
No one remembers the seventh goal in a 12-0 win.
But as I hold my son up to see the microwave,
his wrists spinning like a Labrador’s tail flapping,
I think about dying in a comfy chair
safe in the knowledge he’ll know
the songs, the stories, the flowers, the people
to watch me melt away,
allowing him the freedom to focus on
letting grief turn into moving on.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Freddie

I think about Freddie Flintoff
being told off by his parents.
They call him Andrew.
They tell him to stop staining his white trousers.
They tell him to get his feet off the sofa.
They tell him to read a book if he’s bored.
They tell him he can have fizzy pop
once he’s eaten his vegetables.
They drive him to training the next day,
make sure he has his ham sandwiches
and wonder where he got his shoulders.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Ramble

Reaching a mint shower gel stuffed palm
towards my left arm pit
I can hear my eulogy being read.
The voice I’m soon to meet
makes a few jokes about wrestling
and how curly hair looks peculiar
when it first starts receding
and how long sleeves never fit me.
It says nice things about my scrambled egg
and the notebooks I thought I’d hidden
and the crowd relax
into Ramble On by Led Zeppelin.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

It’s not a bike helmet, it’s a brain protection system

It’s not a tube of Pringles,
it’s a brain protection system.
It’s not a 20th viewing of Moneyball,
it’s a brain protection system.
It’s not a staring at a wall,
it’s a brain protection system.
It’s not a flailing of limbs,
it’s a brain protection system.
It’s not a waste of money,
it’s a brain protection system.
It’s not a waste of time,
it’s a brain protection system.
It’s not a waste of talking,
it’s a brain protection system.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Animals

There you go
floating through brick walls,
swallowing the dirt,
walking with a thousand limps,
agreeing with the leaves,
selling honey to the bees,
teaching the sky it is alive.
There’s a tortoise in the garage
thinking about its day in the garden.
Its shell is softer than it realises,
its head forgets
it will one day be a mountain.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

A soaking wet red phone box

There’s a business card
sellotaped to a black notice board
graffitied with the word WHAT
below two panes of glass
that have been tampered with
by fingers desperate to be see through
and a forehead trapped in skin
stretched by the thoughts
of goalkeeper lying helpless
and a puddle of process Orange Reef.

© Carl Burkitt 2021