What do you think has happened to Barry?

After Oscar Wilde

"Civilisation is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt."

URSULA: The poets are still discussing poor Barry's disappearance.

MABEL: I should have thought they'd have got tired of that by now.

URSULA: Poets! Tired! It's the poetry of the tired and the tired writing poems -

MABEL: May dear Ursula, they have only been talking about it for the last two weeks. Since he stormed out after his big performance - he could have been famous, he could have had it all!

URSULA: It's an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be seen in The Harvey.

MABEL: It's a delightful pub, and possesses all the attractions of the Hard Rock Cafe.

URSULA: What do you think has happened to Barry?

MABEL: I have not the slightest idea! If Barry chooses to hide himself, it is no business of mine.

URSULA: If he is dead, I don't want to think about him. Death terrifies me - that's it.

MABEL: Death and vulgarity are the best two things one can look forward to in Swindon.

URSULA: Let's take a sherry together up at The Harvey. You can read your latest poem.

MABEL: OK. I shall get my coat (sighs) Poor Barry, I was very fond of him.

URSULA: This house is so lonely without him. Of course he is merely a habit, a bad habit. But then one regrets the loss of one's worst habits. Perhaps one regrets them the most.

MABEL: Ursula, has it occurred to you that Barry may have been murdered?

URSULA: Barry is very popular and always wears Hi-Viz. He'd be difficult to murder. Why should he have been murdered? He was not clever enough to have enemies.


URSULA: Roy doesn't count. He is really dull and not up to any murdering.

MABEL: He writes poems, he could also murder. He told me years ago, that he had a wild adoration for you, that you were the dominant motive of his poems.

URSULA: I am fond of Roy. But he is not clever, or civilised.

MABEL: I know there are dreadful places in Swindon, and Barry was the sort of person to go to them.

URSULA: Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders. I don't blame them, but Roy is above that.

MABEL: I don't think Barry would have done much more good work any how. His poems were going off a bit.

URSULA: When you and he ceased to be great friends. He ceased to be a great poet. It's a habit bores have.

MABEL: Oh Barry was never boring,

"Like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart"

URSULA: Yes, that is what it was like! (laughing) How grave you are. Don't be so serious.

Domestic Cherry 4

For overseas postage please see HERE




Billy Bob, Poet?

I wasn’t sure if you were
the body builder Billy Bob or

A foul-mouthed hatred
that stunk out the Poetry
Book Society: all your dirty

frothing and filth to tell
the truth? Billy Bob – your insult
beginning with Rocky

Horror on your wall will kill
us, Dammit Billy Bob!
We can’t all be ugly and clever

from Oxford waving a PHD and
a terrible poem , or two (yourself).
My advice, like your advice,

is stop! This car-park
scuffling with poetry is not

or dangerous. It is Tesco
on a bad day
with all the cup-cakes sold out.

Mrs Hongo

Mrs Hongo is a poet and horse rider from Devon. She was disappointed not to be included in the Next Generation list, after her collection, Elvis Lives in a Honolulu Anagram was published in 2011, but she wishes all on the list well! 'What a top list!' she cried. Mrs Hongo blogs HERE, sometimes.

Domestic Cherry has its own list. Let poets eat cake we say: CAKES

Advice page for sour poets: MAKE IT REAL


Domestic Cherry's top ten cakes to dominate the sweet bread-like treat landscape over the next ten years. You can find all of these cakes at www.tesco.com/cakes/topten 

Angel Cake: Mr Kipling
Battenburg: Lyons
Bakewell Slice: Mr Kipling
Carrot Cake: Marks and Spencer's 
Jamaica Ginger Cake: McVities
French Fancies: Mr Kipling
Viennese Whirls: Mr Kipling
Chocolate Mini Rolls: Cadburys
Banana Lunch Box Loaves: Soreen
Lemon Layer Slices: Mr Kipling

A Woman Can Cross Dress: The end of Mabel and the beinning of Barry

See Part 1 HERE

"It’s something useless, sudden, violent; something that costs a life; red, blue, purple; a spirit; a splash; like those hyacinths (she was passing a fine bed of them); free from taint, dependence, soilure of humanity or care for one’s kind; something rash, ridiculous... ecstasy..." Virginia Woolf

Summary of part one: Mabel asks Barry for a kiss. Barry refuses. Mabel won't take 'No' for an answer (she's the editor of the greatest Int. poetry magazine: Domestic Cherry). Barry still refuses, poetry is poetry, there are no queens. Mabel faints. Barry slaps Mabel and leaves her to pick up some skips. Mabel pretends to be Cynthia and orders a skip. Barry delivers the skip to Cynthia's house. Mabel chases Barry. Barry is run down by a truck. Barry is dead.

Part 2:

Mabel takes the hi-viz jerkin off Barry’s dead body and runs to Ursula’s house. She collapses on Ursula’s front porch, clutching Barry’s jerkin. Ursula finds Mabel and tucks her into bed. Time makes a crinkly shape in the sky, and a strange noise.

100 years later

She stretched herself. She rose. She stood upright in complete nakedness before us, and while the trumpets peeled Truth! Truth! Truth! we have no choice left but to confess − she was a man. She was Mr. Barry Dicks.

To be continued:

The launch of Domestic Cherry 4 with performance artist Diane Torr on Sunday 5th October, 2014. Meet Mabel as Barry. A Drag King Poetry Night with Mabel Watson, Clare Shaw and Myfanwy Fox! Music from the wonderful Faye Rogers.

www.swindonfestivalofpoetry.co.uk for tickets, residential weekend, and festival passes. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will be with us for the entire festival.  

The end of Barry, the beginning of Mabel (Or Venus and Adonis in Swindon)

After Shakespeare (Venus and Adonis)

BARRY: I wish the sun would come out. It's looking rather purple out there. Makes me weep!

MABEL: You are late for collecting the skips today. I've already done three loads of washing.

BARRY: Why always compare us Mabel? I'll go when I'm ready. It was a late one up at the Harvey and those poets kept coming.

MABEL: I went home at 9pm Barry. You are so much better than myself, and I began to have unnecessary feelings for you during your recital of 'The Visible Man'. I wondered about you giving me a kiss!

BARRY: (Palms sweating) Now Mabel! Don't start this kissing thing again. I'm working ... and Ursula will object.

MABEL: Here! Come and sit ... I'll smother you with kisses. (Pulling Barry by the sweaty palm towards her)

BARRY: You are a lusty horse woman! Go and sit on your twin tub and think of Dickens!

MABEL: Oh you are a dull boy today Barry (Takes Barry under her arm, paddle agitator in the other). Come on, I'll be quick.

          Mabel pushes Barry to the ground, strokes his cheek and purses her lips for kissing.

BARRY: (Pouting and frowning) You know the worst thing about this Mabel? The worst thing is that paddle agitator in my ribs.

MABEL: (Disappointed. Lips sulking) Why chide me like this Barry? (Crying)

BARRY: Ok Love. Come on. Let's kiss. (Offers up his lips)

               As Mabel brings her lips to Barry. Barry takes his teeth out and grins.

MABEL: All I want is a bit of kissing. Why can't you oblige me just this once? Don't be coy. Touch my lips with those tough lips of yours. Look in my eye-balls, there your visibility lies.

BARRY: Look, no more of this love! The paddle agitator does break my ribs. I must remove.

MABEL: Your truck has more lust in it. You have taken my heart Barry.

BARRY: Now, this melancholic malcontent won't be helping anyone. And I need to be working, so let it drop Mabel. I've missed the bus now and it's your fault, keeping me with all your weird love stuff. I don't recognise you.

           A war of looks is exchanged between them

MABEL: Why not stay then Barry? I'll make some tea.

BARRY: I know your kind of tea.

MABEL: Just imagine us naked in the bed - whiter than white! I don't know why you can't take advantage of this tea and lust I offer you.

BARRY: I just want to get to work Mabel, pick up a few skips, have a rummage. That's my love. You hurt my head with your whingeing; let us part, and leave this idle theme, this bootless chat: ope the door and let me get the bus.

MABEL: I have done my load , now it's press'd. How your looks and words kill me Barry (Mabel collapses in her lust and rejection)

Barry slaps Mabel's cheeks to revive her, believing she is dead. He wrings her nose, he strikes her on the cheeks, he bends her fingers, holds her pulses hard, he chafes her lips; a thousand ways he seeks to mend the hurt that his unkindness marr'd: he kisses her; and she, by her good will, will never rise, so he will kiss her still.

         Suddenly she wakes and Barry and Mabel enjoy some loving.

          Some hours later.

BARRY: Now I really must go. I have a skip to collect at 1pm and you have kept me far too long.

MABEL: And tomorrow? Tell me, Barry love, shall we meet to-morrow? Say, shall we? shall we?

BARRY: No; to-morrow I intends to collect more skips with certain of my friends.

MABEL: Those skips! I know you take Ursula with you (Going a sudden pale, trembles, throws her arms around his neck: sinks down, still hanging by his neck. Barry falls down upon Mabel's belly. Mabel covers him in more kisses)

BARRY: Now now! Let me go. You are crushing me.

MABEL: Oh do stay the night instead Barry. The skips can wait!

BARRY: I am going off you Mabel. I like you worse and worse. No, lady, no; my heart longs not to groan,
but soundly sleeps, while now it sleeps alone. (Exit Barry breaking out of Mabel's embrace)

          Mabel's tedious woeful ditty:

          How love makes young men thrall and old men dote;
          How love is wise in folly, foolish-witty:
          Her heavy anthem still concludes in woe,
          And still the choir of echoes answer so.

Mabel takes a bus to Cynthia's house and uses her phone with a fake voice, the plastic mouth of it against her sore pale lips. She calls Barry, orders a skip, in a fake voice, to Cynthia's address, scowling. The world's poor people looking on from the street as Mabel stands and waits for Barry's skip.

MABEL: (Screaming in the street) Hard-favour'd tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean, hateful divorce of love,
grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm.

As the skip arrives with Barry at the wheel, he sees Mabel and flees from the truck into an on- coming car and is severely wounded.

MABEL: (Running towards the death scene) Alas, poor world, what treasure hast thou lost!

          With this, she falleth in the place she stood,
          And stains her face with his congealed blood.


You can enjoy the Lucky Fin production of Venus and Adonis at the Swindon Festival of Poetry on Sunday 5th October at 6pm. See HERE for full details.


Men and Masters

After Dickens

BARRY: Well Mabel (in a windy manner). What's this I hear about Roy, refusing to be Mr. Tuttle's friend on Facebook, because he is friends with me?

MABEL: You know he is very sore Barry. And his book ... less said the better. He can be a pest, you are better off without him.

BARRY: I have reported him to the powers that be at Facebook management. He's a cyber bully!

MABEL: I wouldn't go that far. Just a bid sad.

BARRY: He has blackened my name to Mr. Tuttle. I didn't get my free bus pass last week, had to pay £2.45 to get to Lidl. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them.

MABEL: You should ask him to speak up for himself, like a man, since he is a man. Is he man?

BARRY: Ursula should know. There's history there.

MABEL: What kind of history?

BARRY: Just, history, his words not mine. I presume he means the history of some kind of sin. A wide-open comment. I am unsure, but he is certainly wary of me and lets the general public know. He is lowering my good name, or at least, that is his intent. Which is bullying in my book. He described me as a 'mischievous stranger' when I first met Ursula, this was on Twitter.

MABEL: He's just a mere specimen going in the wrong direction. Whereas you Barry. A man to be marvelled at. It can't be easy for Roy.

BARRY: His back-handed comments need to stop. He de-friended Murial Sparks when she wished me happy birthday on my wall and told her that anyone who wishes me happy birthday is no friend of his.

MABEL: Now that's something to complain of. Look how we live, and in what numbers, and by what chances, and with what sameness; and look how the twin-tub is always a going: death!

BARRY: Look how he considers us, and writes of us, and talks of us, and goes up with your deputations to the Poetry Society about us, and how he is always right, and how I is always wrong, and I never had a reason to sin, or write erotic Man-Lit! What planet is he on?

All the events, characters, and situations on this blog are a work of fiction. Any connection to real-life events is purely a coincidence and the writer takes no responsibility for the shame you might feel.

Swartz Metterklume, Poet

After Saki

Mabel picks up a new poet, Swartz Metterklume, at a poetry reading. Jeremy Paxman critizes the poets with regard to their taste in poetry and orders an inquisition. Barry takes care of it by asking Schwartz Metterklume, poet, a few questions down at the Harvey. Mabel advises that poets are allowed to run completely wild. Eventually, Mabel decides to go along to the Harvey to see what would happen.

MABEL: How Provoking. These poetry super-prizes are so careless. Why have that Paxman fella as a judge? Does he even write poems Barry?

BARRY: Does he need to? I think he has a point. I've invited him to The Harvey tonight, for a bit of poet questioning. First up, that Swartz Metterklume, he makes no sense.

MABEL: But Roy has been disgusted by the nature of this charge thrust upon us all. He has learned that Ursula has an artistic temperament when he asked her to account for 'Father Samuel'.

BARRY: Why. What did Ursula do?

MABEL: Russian!

BARRY: Her Russian poem that no one can understand, not even Russians?

MABEL: She also used a colloquial expression, as in the poem by Swartz Metterklume. The general public dislike it a lot. Not a very illuminating experience!

BARRY: I've never met him but, the least show of unexpected resistance goes a long way towards rendering them cowed and apologetic.

MABEL: When the new editor of Poetry Revenue failed to express wonderment at Ursula's efforts in Russian, she spoke only French for three days.

BARRY: I trust you are exaggerating! He drinks like a fish and beats his wife!

MABEL: And he's quite the most irritating bridge player.

BARRY: Tiresome. We will talk of this some other time. let's get down the Harvey and question some poets with Paxman.

(Mabel strides out over the West Swindon horizon destined to have a trail of embarrassment in front of her)

we're so trendy? but who is the modernist...

Taking care of Futurism in 1982

Tainted Love is number 1, Pam Ayres is on Wogan and Marc Almond has his stomach pumped.

Barry Broadcasts jingles for Oxford shopping centre on Radio Oxford.

Ursula buys a Mina bird and calls it HD.

The Mina bird starts to copy Barry's jingles.

Ursula hires Dr Doolittle to re-program the bird.

Dr Doolittle turns out to be the grandson of DH Lawrence.

Dr Doolittle and Barry fall out out over the arrival of Amy Knowall from America and wrestle each other naked (Barry wearing a glowstick necklace) in front of Mabels 2 bar electric fire.

Knowall refuses to appear in Domestic Cherry alongside Mabel and threatens to destroy the annual.

Barry is arrested in a car park in Bath and is sent to a Stratton mental hospital for slandering the Brunel Centre.

Mabel's mother, Eliza Pound, has asked her to go and see Roger McGough at Newbury. Mabel has never been to Newbury. Mabel hasn't seen her mother since she ran off with a paedophile  20 years ago. The last communication they had was a recipe for fruit cake. Barry said, 'the relationship with your mum seems to have been one long fruitcake of events Mabel.'

Roy was in Chieveley working on a project commissioned by Caspar Garland to photograph a KFC Family Bucket in every franchise across Berkshire.

When Roy saw a red camper in the disabled bay with a 'For Sale' £5000 note in the window, he immediately thought of Barry Dicks, the windscreen visor BARRY & MABEL above fluffy cherries clinched it. What was that Hi-VIS Lo-Morals merchant up to this time and how did Mabel fit into the story? Roy felt something warm on his foot, it was a breast, one of Colonel Sanders'. He had been so engrossed in his attempt to rumble Dicks that the bottom of his bucket had disintegrated under a layer of grease: more breasts and wings slumped to the floor. Roy was attempting to pick the fried chicken up when he heard the saliva sluicing tones of Barry Dicks just behind him, 'finger lickin' good is it Roy?'

Roy didn't even give Barry the satisfaction of him looking up, but was compelled to listen as the stop start motor mouth spilled the details of his latest project. 'I'm just off to Cairo via Yugoslavia on a top-secret mission.' A small crowd had gathered to listen outside the RAC Promotions Hut, Barry clambered onto the roof of the camper and continued,

     'Mabel's bringing the camper back tonight, we're off to RAF Northolt together, where my                   human visibilty skills will be flying off to the Sahara to find Mark Thatcher

The crowd had now been boosted by the arrival of a Wallace Arnold coach full of pensioners on their way to the matinee performance of ' the Romans in Britain' at the South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell. 

     Finishing his speech with a call to arms and the cryptic statement that, 

'I can see the son of Maggie in a grain of sand.' Barry jumped down to whoops and cheers. Roy was crouched over his bent cardboard bucket, attempting to protect the chicken from being trod into the car-park by the zip up slippers of the third age theatre fans.

It was the same week that Dani Androlove, a Polish poet from Penhill, tried to stab Barry with a pair of Ursula's tweezers during the latter's denouncement of the song from the future, You're My Favourite Waste of Time (1986) as being a one hit wonder. Barry contented himself by using a marker pen to black out every poem in her notebook and writing.