Ross Wallis + Digital Media + Art

teacher and enthusiast

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Fantastic Plastic (A Rap)

Fantastic plastic, wrapped in it, billions of bags 
Flying from the branches like ragged bunting flags
Crow black silage skins raggedly wrapped in crew cut hedgerows
PET bottles squashed like hedgehogs in garbage strewn verges where the knotweed grows
Little bags of dog poo hung in bushes in the carpark of the ANOB
Plastic clothing shedding fibres in every wash, washing out to sea
sewerage farms carefully filtrate the sludge, then spread the shit on our fields
along with the Neonicotinoids, nitrogen and phosphates to maximise the yields
plastic in every mouthful of water we imbibe
condom flotsam washed in on the tide
Fluorescent neon fishing tackle and the remains of immature cod
tampon applicators, bottle tops, and countless cotton buds
flotsam and jetsam mark the high tide line, mile upon mile of plastic rope
Hydration in plastic bottles from natural mineral springs on a trading estate in Basingstoke
drinking straws, laminated mugs, polystyrene burger boxes and disposable implements
facilitating our plasticised consumer driven fast food 21st century metropolitan encampments 
plastic chewing gum like lichen on 1000 year old cathedral slabs
where plastic crucifixions, gift wrapped in the gift shop are placed in cathedral branded plastic bags
inhaling rubber from the tires of cars, nitrogen dioxide and carbon particulates in every lung
anaphylactic, asthmatic, allergic offspring off on the school run
in diesel guzzling tanks with personalised plates pumping out the toxins
cling film clinging like a second skin
bubble wrap
shrink wrap
black sack
shopping bag
bin bag
nano balls
spewing forth from shopping malls
container ships of pound shop delights
all destined for our land fill sites
the sea a swirling vortex of detritus
waiting now to come back and bite us
as the smallest creature in the remotest depth of the coldest ocean in the remotest frontier
eats the junk that we dumped in our wheelie bin, destined for the land, the sea, the air
A hundred years of so called progress, the consequence of which are not yet seen
our vinyl, styrene, polycarbonate, polypropylene, fantastic plastic millennium dream


It’s a wrap!

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Rich Fabric

Here I am, patchy parchment skin and hair Thinning, white, retiring
Indeed a mirror image of my pa
Though he now behind the glass
In photographs
No longer of our time and place
Travelling far
And the familiar face reflecting
Is I, not he
Wearing his jumper
The very same as knitted by my mother
Expecting
A lifetime ago
And she knitting still
With fingers knarled as the pollarded willows
Lining the rhyne, misshapen, arthritic
A lifetime weaving a fabric
A pattern, a rhythm, a rhyme
Stitch by stitch
Each stitch a day, each row a year
The fabric of a life together, a pattern changed
He gone, unravelled
She alone, grieving
The road they travelled
The jumper, well loved, 
well darned, well worn, will remind her of him
A lifetime together to look back on
And what to look to? 
How strange to be 90
Suddenly older with his passing
He kept you young
Keep knitting, my mum
Stitch by stitch, row by row, 
weaving the rich fabric.




Only the cream will do

There is a  kidney on the bathroom mat
or it might be a liver
she is such a liver, my pussycat
she has it down pat, no kidding
I can almost forgive her, purring on my lap
or stretched out like a pelt, fully extended
as if to melt like the butter she rasps 
from my bread, unattended
muddy paw prints on the bedspread
moultings on the quilt
but the cat is perfectly contented
A seeker of creature comfort 
that might teach me a lesson or two
satisfied with the milk? not she!
only the cream will do.

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By Heart

I know you by heart
by rite, by rote
Learning the lines
the queues, the marks
a Hail Mary, a litany, a chant
sometimes affirmation, sometimes a rant
always rehearsed, well practised and versed
a cut and a thrust
as we spar with our words
for better, for worse
Like rhyming couplets
In tightly knitted verse
you and I
I know you
like the back of my hand
like a well worn path
like a well thumbed book
every gesture, every look
the plot unfurls to plan
ever so since Eve and Adam
ever so of woman and man
every pig headed mr and stubborn madam
re working long established patterns
but for all the repartee
I wouldn’t want it any other way
you are familiar as a favourite spoon, a much loved mug
well worn steps
the patina of years
tended with care
Where would I be if you weren’t there?
What would I be without you?






Monumental


I don’t need my name carved in stone, 
cast in brass or bronze, 
I am happy without a blue plaque or tablet, 
would rather not be a statue, 
equestrian or otherwise, 
nor a waxwork, or a marble in the park. 
I am happy as I am, 
no need for martyrdom, 
for sainthood or sacrifice. 
Leave the stake, I have no need to immolate, 
no flowers at a roadside shrine. 
Leave me without an epitaph, 
no need for bowing heads, 
for wreaths or special days, 
war memorials or parades. 
I would rather live a full life, full of life, 
a quiet life, a peaceful life, 
and leave the heroics to heros and saints, 
I am happy as I am, 
an ordinary man. 
Tess

Ah Tess
Bless her
Our Tessa, in her summer dress
A barrel of fun
A wicked one
Ah Tess, indigo velvet Laura Ashley
Dashing a waltz at the Christmas party
Doe eye’d  dippy child of the 60’s
Where shall we meet?
Where there is wuthering
Morning mists and mothering
But Summer’s lease has all too short a date
Dear Tess, you shall be missed
Our fragile hearts will ache



For Tess Knevett, a work colleague, friend and English teacher



Wet Winter Walk

bloody muddy
piddly puddly
soddin’ soggy
dribbly drably
dilly dally
wellie malarkey
barky licky chasey doggie
squishy squelchy winter walkie




Peddling

Peddling to work and slowly back
Along a remnant of old railway track
Long gone are the days of steam
A distant whistle, a nostalgic dream
Brambles and elder all that persist
A distant Tor nestled in the evening mist
Through a cleavage in the limestone downs
A stone arched bridge, our little town
A tune in my head going round and round
Peddling home, Homeward bound




Navigation - Times have Changed


Under the bed in a mahogany box
With inlaid corners and etched brass plate
Snuggly laid in green felt slots
My father’s sextant from his seafaring days
A peaked cap, velvet badged, with thin gold braid
A telescope, binoculars, a camera in it’s case
A war department compass with enamelled face
Treasures he collected, leather, ivory, bone
Anomalies in these days of the GPS phone
He knew every constellation in the sky at night
The trees from their leaves, plants by sight
He knew every bird from the song that it sings
I have an iPhone app for all of these things
Despite several chronographs, carefully arranged
The world moves on, and times have changed





Bath Market


Young men gather round a table of guns
like sugar and bees
A stall laid out by army recruitment soldiers
polished boots and army fatigues 
An elderly busker plays classical guitar
and a stall holder sells cheese






Sunday Morning Swarm

Cars in queues
Like bees stacked
To enter the money honey hive
The nectar of the what might there be to surprise
A carboot bargain to make life complete
And the church can’t compete
It’s single bell tolls on the morning air
An unheeded call to the faithful to prayer
While the car boot toll booth rakes it in
Like ants with ants in their pants
The faithful bargain hunters congregate
Impatient to find a balm to ease their itch
This Sunday field is a sacred space
We flock to worship the God of Things
The trestle table alter of car boot bargains
So profuse we hire extra storage bins
For the stuff we collect and hoarde
Till we can no longer squeeze through the door
Yet the sale still draws us in
Maggots writhe
Moths flutter in guttering light
The flea market excites us
Sellers spin their webs and wait like spiders do
To capture buyers who buzz like flies on piles of shit
The scent of a bloom in bloom, a pheromone
Locusts consumed with a need to own





Disappearing High Street

There was a grocer, a butcher, a tailor, a cobbler, all of them family affairs
There was Hardware and homeware a florist, a dentist, and street vendors selling their wares

There was a barber who shaved faces with a cut throat razor, a banker, fishmonger and baker, 
And maybe once even, though I never have seen them, a local candlestick maker

The rag and bone man with his cart and horse came clip clopping up our road
The paper boy’s bike was thrown on the grass and there was the clink of the milkman’s float

But I was knee high, and the sun always shone, and all this is memory lane
Now my hair has gone grey, and there’s nothing to say - and I don’t even know who’s to blame

The barber's still there, but multiplied, morphed, no longer a simple trim
But a hairdressing saloon, nail care parlour, tattooist, therapy and gym

Clothing chains, bookies, drug stores, pop up stalls, shops selling goods for a pound
The lovely independent interesting shops have all gone, and banality abounds
 
Mobile phone warehouses, factory outlets and a plethora of shops for charity
School leaver shop keepers on minimum wages carry the brunt of austerity

Buskers and beggars and big issue sellers and retired high vis do gooders
Where once we were a nation of shopkeepers, now we are a nation of shoppers

There is ebay and gumtree and amazon and Tesco mobile and one click shopping by phone
A quaint town crier ringing the changes, but the interesting shops have all gone

And I was knee high, and the sun always shone, and all this is memory lane
Now my hair has gone grey, and there’s nothing to say - And I don’t even know who’s to blame





Karen

Karen is history
She was present, now she is past
It was that fast, here, now, gone
A bolt from the blue, this passing
Too swift a passing through
Somewhere it is still yesterday
Elsewhere, already tomorrow
The world spins on
Everything spins
My head spins, it was that fast
Yesterday she was fully here
Today just empty
And all tomorrows
What more to say
Marks left in history books
Deeper marks in the hearts of near and dear
A desk of neat paperwork, a stack of to do’s
A pile of books still to mark
A coat over the back of a chair
As if she will be back in come Monday
Tall and spare
Always there
Then not there
And what do we learn?
What has she taught?
Mark time well
For somewhere it is already tomorrow
And none of us know that we’ll be here or there


(Karen was a teacher of History, much missed)



Baby Finn



Finn, to begin
Compact as a broad bean
leaving your padded velvet lined pod behind
To enter this world full of cries and sighs
Hard edges, sharp points, cold and heat
Perfect pink and naked
Tiny Hands and feet
Nuzzled to nipple
Cuddled to breast
Swaddled and fed

How can such a perfect being
be born into a world
Made so imperfect
By such ugly beings as us
Just being

In your perfect nakedness
Is the Innocence of Eden
A garden never left, though
Sadly neglected

And what lies ahead?

An old man leaning on a fence
looking back the way he came
Even 100 years hence

Will times be better or worse?

Maybe he will see the start of a turn

While it is still our turn

A return

To nature

Our better nature

For his perfect pink baby

And their perfect pink baby

And their perfect pink baby

And their perfect pink baby...





Breasts


I love breasts
I just do
I’m sorry if it’s not PC
And I’m sure it’s not unique to me
It may be due
to my masculine gender
And I’m sorry if it’s totally off of the agenda
I just love tits
They’re my favourite bits
So won’t you let it be
While I still have the eyes to see
To enjoy the sight of a goodly pair
Be they clothed or be they bare
As long as I don’t obviously stare
Don’t look askance
At a sideways glance
Let me appreciate
The attributes that adorn
The feminine graces
Won’t you allow
That I should enjoy
Those better endowed
Than I
I just love boobs
Large or small
Encased in lace
In a negligee or brassier
I don’t mind at all
Magnificent balloons
With cleavage to get lost in
A full Mae West
Or perfect and pert
Like a China Jane Austin
pointy as barnacles
Or like cherries or apples or peaches or pears or melons (but not bananas)
Forbidden fruit...
A breast to mother me
A bosom to smother me
Is it an anomaly
That this bit of physiognomy
Should draw my attention
Like no other extension
I know it may’nt ingratiate me
I can’t help that they titillate me
Like they say
Breast is best
And I just love tits to bits

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Laughable poem He he he

He he he Ho
Hi ho Ho
Ha ha he he he he Ho
Ho Ho Ho ha
Ha ha
He
Hi ha ha ha
He he Ho Ho
Hi hi hi
Ho Ho
Hi
He ho
Ho