When a poet first steps up onto a stage,
Their mind is screaming that they’re a fake.
And that now on this stage their time has come,
To be uncovered by everyone.
So I wear a disguise so I look the part,
I’ve got tattoos on both my arms.
I sprouted a hipsterish beard on my chin,
Now I can’t be found out, where to begin?
You see I get tongue-tied if I wax political,
Embarrassed if I try to be satirical.
So I thought hard on what lines my rhymes should take,
What could I with words create?
So I just wrote down all the crap in my head,
All the stuff that keeps me awake in bed.
All the stuff that is commonplace to me,
I wanted to capture in poetry.
But I found all that anger hard to maintain,
Everywhere I go I don’t want to bring pain.
So when I stand up before you good people here,
I want to try to spread a bit of cheer.
So I started to write poetry on simpler things,
Poems about binge watching TV,
These I found were the words for me.
So that’s my poetical manifesto,
Here I stand giving it a go.
This is what I’ve decided to try,
But remember, I’m a poet, we always lie.
Hold me tight as the wind blows,
As the leaves gather round our feet.
So you’ll think of me next Autumn,
When you’re walking down this street.
Hold me close as the clouds gather,
And raindrops begin to land.
So you’ll remember me next Autumn,
When you hold another’s hand.
Then let me go as the sky darkens,
Free me like an Autumn leaf.
No longer attached too what I loved,
Our time together sadly too brief.
I’m reprinting this poem not because it feels like Autumn here in the UK at the moment but because I’m proud to say I heard this week it’s taken first prize in a local poetry contest. The Friends of Merrions Wood chose this poem as a winner in their seasonal poetry contest and it should be in their next news letter, considering I used to play in that very wood when I was young I’m proud to have won,.
I summoned a small demon
Bound it to my service.
Chained it in an iron box
Then every day I fed it.
I fed it my shattered dreams
I let it devour my ideas.
It ate my broken promises
All were devoured by its metal gears
Then when I had nothing left
There was only one thing to do
I placed myself in its shiny jaws
And then I was shredded to.
I peek cautiously through the kitchen blinds.
It’s like a BBC 2 jungle documentary out there,
A green canopy growing wild and untamed.
Nature is reclaiming my garden,
and I feel like
this is a job for another day.
I tentatively open the cupboard door.
It’s like an explosion in a skip,
no antiques or heirlooms here.
This is Tutankhamen’s stuff for the tip
rubbish unfit for any afterlife.
Another job for another day.
I’m no Attenborough or Carter
Fearlessly investigating or excavating.
Instead I brave the TV channels
to visit far away lands
armed with a cup of tea
Sitting comfy in my armchair.
Every morning your shaking hands strip me
Then anoint me with oil,
that leaves me cold.
With ease you reassemble me.
Then before you break your fast
you offer me supplication.
“May I be blessed, ” you say.
“May I spit holy fire at your foes,
May I strike down the unworthy.”
By this you believe
you transfer your guilt to me.
You believe you instruct, I kill.
But I cannot pull my own trigger.
This poem deserves a few lines of explanation. I’m a member of the Birmingham Poetry Stanza group who meet on a regular basis to do poetry workshops, discuss poetry and a whole host of other interesting events. Recently Stanza leader Roz Goddard bought in a host of old postcards she owned and we did an exercise where we chose a image that stood out to us and wrote a dialogue from someone or something in the picture. This poem is the result of that, it is also my fictional interpretation of the image.
Why not see if there is a Poetry Stanza in your area you can join?
When the moon covers his eyes,
the scorned woman with fire on her brow
and hardness in her heart,
approaches the sacred tree.
A white dress hides her black purpose.
Placing a nail with trembling reverence
she drives it into the wood.
Then nail after nail is hammered in
accompanied by her
Her ex-lover sleeps fitfully,
sweat on his forehead he snaps awake.
Pinned he twists and turns
puncture wounds spreading and
When he is found he is pale white
a bloodless spirit,
a contorted shell.
His lifeless face imitating
a Noh mask.
In her garden the revenged woman
Buries her hammer and sap
coated nails in a polished
Burying her memories.
For what is left of the night
The white dress crackles
on the hearth.
Warming her smiling face.
Under the harsh glare of electric suns,
Flitting among the orange carpeted plains,
The office meerkats chatter and lap tea.
Until the tinny trill of a phone breaks the peace.
The meerkats shiny eyes blink then search,
As their quizzical heads rise above monitors.
Before they bolt
Back to their drab cubicle like burrows.
Tiny paws start clattering on keyboards,
The meerkats look busy, they’re experts at it.
Suddenly the clattering stops
Inquisitive noses sniff as heads re-emerge
A familiar scent is teasing.
Keyboards and phones are forgotten
As paws scramble and pound,
Skittering across filing cabinets.
Eager faces crash into their chocolate prey,
Paws quickly start to pick the cake clean,
Tiny mouths bolting it down in huge chunks.
Then a heavy tread disturbs the carpet
Meerkat ears prick up
Chocolate smeared mouths screech warnings.
A boss has been sighted.
Cresting a desk the predator roars,
It has scented the cake.
The meerkats scramble back to their cubicles
Leaving only crumbs behind.
Safe they nestle, mouths start to happily snore
As furry paws contentedly hug full bellies.
What if love was a drug?
How would you take it?
Maybe shredded and rolled
tightly in an old Valentine envelope.
directly into your lover’s lungs.
What if it was a pill?
Dancing around your tongue then
washed down with tears.
setting fire to your blood.
Perhaps you could take your
crushed dreams and desires.
Distill them into a syringe.
Then inject the hit
straight to your synapses.
Or would you go cold turkey?
Shivering and sweating,
holding back bile.
from that drug called love.
Fire danced behind her eyes,
Yet her skin was as cold as ice.
Something sparked my curiosity
I needed to know what she hid inside.
So I peeled back her frozen skin,
Then I looked into her flames.
Faces flickered as I stared,
Yet she wouldn’t reveal their names.
I gazed into her now cold eyes,
As their fire slowly flickered out.
No more would she be fire or ice
I thought, as her spark went out.