Canto I

And so it is around the halftime show
of my three score and ten year earth-time session
I hunch over the tablet, tapping slow,

hoping the form will aid my self expression
and bring some colour to this mundane tale
of a boy from Slough that doesn’t believe in heaven

whose birth town serves as his idea of hell
and therefore has to list his days on earth
and squeeze the secret’s skin but never tell.

Instead, I’ll give you this for what it’s worth,
The other night, while stacking up the chairs
of the open mic where confession and mirth

are soundtracked by the street noise from upstairs,
I found myself alone with another bard
who’d crossed the border of those seventy years.

He told me of the emotional scars
inflicted by snotty rejection letters
from well bred gatekeepers with little class

and how his confidence was left in tatters,
although he still held out for recognition
before his soul set off for calmer waters.

All I could do was nod my head and listen,
and play the part of literary priest
trying not to yawn through the umpteenth confession,

to offer solace, help him to release
his many hurts into the evening air
to flap away like honking droves of geese.

But here’s the catch, I actually fucking cared
about the injuries to this man’s soul
and in that moment I became aware

that my brick-shithouse-thick emotional wall
that kept the world from touching my inner core
had vanished wholesale, left me vulnerable,

fully exposed to other souls and more.
The whole world’s seething froth came crashing in
through mouth and eye and every gaping pore

and left me feeling I could start again
and take the flailing slugs to chin and gut
and keep my grip on touchscreen, keys or pen,

to note it down before floodgates shut.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. peter litton
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 10:59:49

    Great… lessons in the art of writing Terza Rima ABA, BCB, CDC all written in iambic pentameter but I didn’t know about the single line couplet at the end.

    I liked the the ninth stanza…great imagery, all our moans groans flying westwards, honking.


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