“Yampy,” my neighbours said about me when I was young,
as I rode my Grifter no-handed past their shocked faces,
laughing as I crashed into their beloved shrubs.
“Yampy,” they whispered from behind their windows
as I walked to school,
laces untied, shirt hanging out, head in the clouds.
Teachers echoed these taunts,
“could do better, must try harder, slacker.”
I didn’t care as I couldn’t change
as yampy was burnt into my DNA.
Fast forward I grew up – a bit – and discovered beer.
“He’s yampy,” after a few they said in my local,
“he’s yampy before he’s walked in the door,” was the reply.
Fag in my gob, pint in my hand I joined in the laughter.
When I met my wife she used to laugh at my bad memory,
“Come on you yampy bugger,” she’d say,
“Why can’t you remember my favourite drink?
Why can’t you remember my birthday?
Why can’t you remember your own poems?”
Us yampys do have memory problems it’s true,
our brains are like attics
stuffed with junk that we think one day might
come in useful again.
Then when we want to find something
we struggle to remember
where it is and what we wanted in the first place.
Plus we’re easily distracted in attics
Look an old school report
I’ll need that later in the poem.
Where was I…, that’s it
When my daughter was born people said, thinking they were out of earshot,
“I hope she takes after her mom.”
I ignored them as I cradled my new-born, writing a poem in my head.
Poetry again I know, I was surprised as you.
But us yampys are drawn to poetry like
a seagull is drawn to chips.
Snatching ideas and words, squawking them back out
cackling like the bird brains we are.
Poetry was one of the many plasters I applied to my brain,
I tried drugs legal and not but
yampyness cannot be cured only
lulled into drowsiness until
it snaps awake at 12 am demanding attention
like a dog demands an urgent midnight piss.
Recently I burnt all my school reports
then I burnt all my school photos,
plus I burnt all the mementoes of my teenage years.
But I didn’t burn my bridges
I’m yampy not stupid.
Yampy is a local term where I live to describe someone who is daft or losing the plot.
Quick plug this poem features in my latest poetry collection A Pigeon among the cats.