Guilt and Shame in the Market Place


The sun bore down on the Market Cross, where Guilt and Shame were sat

Guilt was clad in a penitent’s rags, and Shame wore a dunce’s hat

The steps were strewn with sticks and stones, and faggots had been lit

And smoke rose up to the pinnacles where shadows of psychopomps sit

“It was you,” said Guilt to Shame, “‘twas you, that brought us to this place”

Shame hung her head as her cheek bled red from the whip of the flame on her face

“‘Tis maybe true,” said she to Guilt, “for I was ever this

Destined to burn in the Market Place for the sake of a stolen kiss”

Guilt fell silent, angry tongues flicking ire in the light of his eye

“‘Twas you as well, my love,” she said, “who brought us here to die”

Then she fell silent too, as snakes of flame hissed in her hair

And the stench of smoking human flesh pervaded the summer air

Above the Cross the sun bore down, and the wheels of justice turned

Guilt and Shame in the Market Place; by terrible passion burned

© Gail Foster 2016











Racist Bloke


I had a racist boyfriend once, we’ll call him ‘Racist Bloke’

I dealt with the whole ‘racist thing’ by making it a joke

I used to call him out on it, and then I just gave in

Discarding my morality like fag ends in the bin

“Never argue with a bigot” I would laugh, and make the tea

“I’m not a racist” he would say “it’s witty parody”

It just got worse and worse, until we couldn’t watch the news

“Dirty Muslims this,” he’d say, “those filthy effing Jews”

I’d leave the telly off in case the sight of one black face

Would flush his chain and cause him to start ranting about race

And start blaming all the women who had ever given birth

In the dry and deadly desert, for the failings of the earth

He’d read up on the history of Jews throughout the ages

(it took him quite a while as there were quite a lot of pages)

Liked to rant about the Rothschilds, thought he’d got me with their riches

Expecting me to then agree that Jewish girls were bitches

“Women” he would say, “just shouldn’t have to wear the veil”

As if veil equalled jihad equalled every Muslim male

He was bad enough when sober, but when drunk it was profound

He’d be pissing venom down the pub like urine on the ground

He’d reduce a room to silence, and could empty out a bar

With his verbal racist violence, going further than too far

And then he’d order curry, oh he liked a bit of that

“Hey, did you know Mohammed was from some dark clot begat”

He would say as he was waiting for his naam bread and his bhaji

Like some hungry little Hitler rocking ‘rat arsed and Faragey’

It was painful, and embarrassing, it filled me with dismay

It was always, it was everywhere, and every flippin’ day

And yet really, to be honest, was I not as bad as he

All smug in my self-righteousness “I’m not a racist, me”

Sticking proudly to my principles in public mass debate

Whilst I broke bread with the shit and chose to zone out all his hate

In all that sick scenario ‘twas me that was the joke

I was the girl who sold her soul because she loved a racist bloke


© Gail Foster 2016


The Mourning After The Night Before

The Morning After - Copy



“Knock, knock” “Who’s there?”  I haven’t a clue

What day is it? Who’s at my door?

“Here is some breakfast I made just for you”

Says some stranger who slept on my floor

The sight of the eggs and the bacon and tea

Turns my stomach inside upside down

Migraine’s the price that I’ve paid for the glee

Of a banging night out on the town

“‘Ere, it’s New Year, do you fancy a beer?”

“No thanks, mate, I’m feeling quite rough”

I may have blacked out after midnight I fear

But now I’m…remembering…Stuff

Slowly but surely it’s coming to mind

As glimpses emerge from the fog

Of a twist and a twerk and a bump and a grind

And my new Christmas phone down the bog

I thought I was hot but in retrospect not

In the morning light nowt could be plainer

And that I remember I like not a jot

My naked and drunk Macarena

Oh me and my mates, we do get in a state

And last year we gave it some welly

But if anyone had not enough on their plate

We’d do onesies and pizza and telly

My mates are my life, we’re a pretty tight bunch

They’re alright, mate, they’re really all right

But last night I must have been well out to lunch

For I reckon I started a fight…

It was something to do with a girl I once knew

And a joke that she did stuff for money

And a fine upper cut in the queue for the loo

Well, I thought the punch line was funny

Oh, what’s in my pockets, this isn’t my coat

As I’m clearly not Super or Dry

And what are the words that are writ on this note

‘Bell me, baby, you’re totally fly’

And I’m going commando; hilarious bants

Will be had in regards to my loss

Much mirth to be had from the sight of my pants

On the top of the Market Cross

It’s not looking good, and tucked in to my hood

Are two gherkins all wrapped in a bra

Half a kebab and a squashed Christmas pud

And a wing mirror nicked from a car

I think I’m experiencing chemical guilt

And at some point I’ll have to atone

But right now I’m going to hide under my quilt

Crying blubbery tears for my phone


by Gail

They Never Went To War



They never went to war; they stayed at home

The young, the old, the unwell and the dead

The women who were not allowed to roam

The men who tilled the fields and baked the bread

Those sat in darkness waiting for the rap

Of letterbox, and soft white feather fall

The silence broken by a dripping tap

Dark shadows cast by street lamps on the wall

The little lads who ran behind the train

That took their fathers off to certain death

Who waved until their arms ached in the rain

Who ran until their lungs ran out of breath

Old men who yearned for youth; just one more chance

To feel the blood flow, hear the battle cry

To wear the uniform and take a stance

To stand with other men, to fight and die

The crippled and the mad, the deaf, the blind

Escaped the fate of many thousand men

Some angry that they had been left behind

Some thankful that they’d never fight again

 Women, who with their sleeves rolled ploughed the land

Lit candles, raised the children, hid their tears

Made ammunitions with a careful hand

Kept watch and saved the night time for their fears

So many stayed at home, and stayed alive

And suffered pain and loss, regret and guilt

That they were left, that they were to survive

Within the house such sacrifice had built

Their many names are not inscribed on stone

Those sorrowed souls, so haunted by war’s ghost

Were left to stand and mourn the dead alone

Listening to the trumpet sound the post


by Gail