Crossing the Pandemoticon

It began with a hand

clenched experimentally to ear

not so much a fist

as a makeshift mouthpiece

designed to broadcast  miracles

speaking in tongues:



nego,nego,unulti possum!

craaghi covid ipsit cunnilingo ?

es krampit   todo   kwa heri ‘


a polyglot  mother tongue

Nordic vowels, Slavic consonants

Swahili syntax, Latin verse

with just a touch of Lewis Carroll

to stitch into proper nonsense


all in the hope  some passers by

might stop and listen,

become alarmed,

and call a  passing drone

to guide  me to a  ’place of safety’

where the only voices heard

were broadcast   in my head.


But all they see

is an elderly guy

clutching a smart phone

doing   foreign dumb talk

into his high vis mask

to someone just like them

in Karachi , Prague or San Francisco


Once upon a time

before we crossed the pandemoticon

we lived in another   country

where language was affordance enough .

One day ,  tuned to a secret station

on  my very own pirate radio

I  was talking to my imaginary friend

when  suddenly she grabbed a fistful of  vowels

and   cartwheeled down the street

shouting oy , oy   look, no hands….