There once was an octopus
Ruled the UK
Squeezing the working class,
Making them pay.
Ploughing through seas
Of libbies and lefties
Knocking them flat
With tentacles hefty
This octopus huge
Had the weirdest of perms
Looked like a sculpture
Of thousands of worms
She pummeled and squeezed
And strangled the nation
Tried to convert it
But at last when her party
Could stand it no more
She was fished from her ocean
And dumped on the shore.
On Wednesday night I was at a poetry slam and a guy there performed a poem about a poetry superhero. Cute idea.
But he prefaced it by saying it wasn’t as gay as it sounded. Me and another “member of our church” sat and cringed and a few straight friends shot me empathetic looks, but I couldn’t let it slide, so when my turn came I did my poem as planned, (which happened to be about assuming our words don’t hurt anyone: the baddies, further down this blog) and then performed this hastily written riposte directly to the gentleman concerned. The crowd enjoyed the smack down, as did he, and we had a nice chat afterwards about why it wasn’t cool.
Anyway here’s the poem. Bear in mind I only had a couple of minutes!
If a poetry superhero sounds gay to you then look here
At the head of the Justice league of the poetry queers.
And if you’re insulted by “gay” for some
Reason, then I’m not going to be quiet
Because I’m here to tell you that “gay”‘s fucking awesome.
And I think perhaps you should try it.
Stop the homophobes:
Don’t you think I felt tired
At the end of each rubbed red raw day
Scrubbing stains, and repenting my sins
And knowing I’d never be clean?
Don’t you think I felt sick
When the priest took me into his room
And I knew, with his breath on my skin
That for me there could be no reprieve?
Don’t you think I feel old,
Every time my son’s birthday comes round.
And I think how we drove him away.
How we told him his love was obscene?
Don’t you think I felt weak
Every time I was beaten and cursed.
By a man I was tied to for life?
Don’t you think I felt wronged and deceived?
Don’t you think I gave up?
Don’t you think that I counted out pills,
Though I knew I’d be punished in death,
No matter how desperate I’d been?
But you said there were rules.
Our traditions were sacred and strong.
So, your Holiness, what did you mean?
And who am I supposed to believe?
I want to curl into you
To tuck my head to your shoulder and
Fit my arm to your ribs.
I want us to tangle.
Our legs to twine with each other.
Ankles hooked round shins.
My hair your hair.
I want our kisses to replace our words
Like watching a foreign film
In a language only we understand;
The subtitles switched off.
When we think of the Nazis,
We wonder how it could have happened.
All of those lives, and each one as important and.precious as…
Of a child.
Imagine their smile
Their small feet
And bubbling laughter
Now think: child upon child upon child
Piled up like rubbish to bqurn.
Think of a friend
And now think of all of your friends
Everyone that you’ve ever been close to
Being branded and tortured and starved
And you’ll wonder
How could it have happened?
But it’s easy enough to take life you don’t think of as human
All it tales is an us and a them and a grievance or 2
And you can light candle on candle on candle on candle
And revel in wringing your hands watching grim documentaries
On the history channel “the nazis a warning from history”
And know in your heart that you’re nothing at all like those bastards
All it takes is an us and a them a grievance or two
Until one day theyll wonder
How could it of happened
When speaking of you.
The bright dark of the white park
Eerily still, echoes with whoops and with calls
Of grownup girls and boys
All-out to play
A bearded baby boy reclines at speed
Is rockabyed from his plastic cradle
Hits a broken bough.
And, winded, laughs with pain.
As all the girl-women and all the boy-men
Cackling, pull him together again.
And, in the park
The dogs do bark
And nobody’s going to town
When the roads, gritted like teeth
Will tear at the white velvet gown
We are twirling around in tonight.
In our half-lit delight.