The Devil doesn’t wear Prada you
have been sadly misinformed.
Instead he wears a tracksuit of
shadow and trainers that
are as silent as the
dead of night.
He hides in plain sight, right
in the corner of your eye.
The stranger you swear you know
but can’t place. Who smiles at you like
a cloud passing across the sun.
The cars seem to be made of lead
Petrol tank’s gummed up with treacle.
The motorway’s smeared in super glue,
Like fly paper it catches people.
The vans look like bloated slugs,
The lorries seem to be oversize snails.
Straining so slowly forward,
Hands glued to horns, to no avail.
The M6 is stuck like a scratched dvd on pause,
While we turn the air blue and vegetate.
We’re fossilising on the motorway,
Trapped helplessly at Junction Eight.
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.