Blonde Joke.

The one where she trips over a cordless phone,
or tiptoes past the bathroom cabinet
so she won't wake the sleeping pills,

gets stabbed in a shoot out,
spends hours trying to drown a fish,
goes skydiving and misses earth.

The one where you clock her at the bar,
slip her a vodka-coke, nod to your mate:
What do you do when a blonde says no?

Buy her another beer. Later, in the taxi queue,
you stroke behind her ears: what does a blonde
put here to make her prettier? Her ankles.

Or the one where she binds your wrists
behind your back, ties you naked to the hotel
swivel chair, then props the door open,

walks out and leaves you waiting for the punchline,
laughter thinning to a wheeze, and the light
from the single lamp makes your own head golden.

HELEN MORT.

At A Reading in Rotherham Library.

To the Wednesday night Rotherham Library audience,
I am describing myself back at ten years old.
I tell them how we climbed over an old garden wall
And went scrumping apples
Then I ask
'Do you say ''scrumping'' up here,
Or do you have a different word for it?'
A woman at the back answers,
'Aye, we do have another word for it:
Theft.'

John Hegley.