Source: Programme 2015
I went to read the paper, to learn of serious things,
Of wars and death and famine, and cocaine trafficking rings,
But of that learnéd content, there was not much, alas,
But there was a two-page feature, on Kim Kardashian’s ass.
So I phoned the busy news desk, said, is all right in the world?
There is no serious content, in your rag, being unfurled,
They said, we’ve got it covered, there’s no need to be glum,
Be assured our top priority is Kim Kardashian’s bum.
But what about the genocides, the pestilence and famine,
The corporate tax evaders, the merc’ry poisoned salmon?
But all I heard was silence, they’d decamped to Pizza Hut,
To plan tomorrow’s leader, on Kim Kardashian’s butt.
Cassandra’s portrait of Jane measures about four inches square,
And is said to be “not such a good likeness.”
No eminent painter of the day
Lured the good Miss Austen
To his studio to capture her essence in oils,
No sculptor attempted to hew her form out of cool marble,
And no place was reserved in Poet’s Corner for her tired bones.
Walk down Princes Street and observe
The Scott Monument towering majestic,
Old Watty and his faithful hound glaring down at passing shoppers,
Though no ladies queue to stroke the moleskin trousers of
And there are precious few television re-enactments of
The Waverley novels
Wow, I’m a serious poet….
Originally posted on Visceral Dream Cabaret:
Max Scratchman: Illustrator, Editor and Poet
Max Scratchman is a freelance illustrator whose editorial works have been included in publications in Britain, the US and Japan such as The Guardian, The Big Issue and City Life. He is also a big presence in the Edinburgh and Scottish poetry scene and has performed with groups such as Loud Poets, as well as running a spoken word open mic, The Portobello Poetry Circus.
What got you into poetry, and who are your biggest influences?
I got into performance poetry completely by accident. I’d been doing “author talks” in libraries for my autobiographical book – The Last Burrah Sahibs – and they always ask you to “read an excerpt” to end the talk. Anyway, although I had been a performer in my student days, I was pretty crap at it, but I just-so-happened to see a workshop for performance poetry advertised and…
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I’m a clown, though you might not know,
I don’t wear big shoes or a red nose, belong to a travelling show.
For clowns are not always what you expect,
And there are some faux clowns who maybe look the part,
But they’re bad tempered fat old men who are not blessed with the clowning art,
You’ve seen their advertising:
Mr Chuckles, birthday parties, face painting and balloon hats,
In lurid braces performing pratt-falls to take moolah from fat cats,
Real clowns like me, though, are more subtle,
We might make a joke on the morning commuter ride,
Or some witty remark at lunch to stop you seeing what’s inside.
We wear our invisible red noses to cover our shame,
Trip over our big feet to gloss over the atrocities we dare not name.
Men have walked upon the moon but we dare not look too closely at our past,
Dredge up old memories of – say – the year before last.
And though we seem like likeable types and fun to be with,
It is all just layers of greasepaint, our bonhomie is myth.
Don’t trust us further than you can throw our brightly coloured props,
Don’t believe our promises when we say we’ll pull out all the stops
To make reparation for our hundred million wrongs,
I’m sorry, please forgive me, these are our favourite songs.
So by all means, buy your tickets for the circus, watch wild animals roam,
But though you’ll laugh a lot at our clowning, don’t take us home.
for National Poetry Day….
Why all the big fuss
About those ladies with their comfortable shoes,
Who mind their own business
And brew their camomile tea
And commune serenely With their mystic ginger cats.
Not for them the empty boasts
That one night with them
Will turn straight women gay,
No shouts of “Straighty!”
At passing strangers in the street.
I think that we can learn a lot
From those ladies with the comfortable shoes.