Cassandra’s Portrait of Jane

Cassandra’s portrait of Jane measures about four inches square,

And is said to be “not such a good likeness.”

For,

It seems,

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.

Today,

Though,

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

Ivanhoe

And there are precious few television re-enactments of

The Waverley novels

These days.

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An Interview With Max Scratchman

Max Scratchmann:

Wow, I’m a serious poet….

Originally posted on Visceral Dream Cabaret:

Featured image 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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Clowns

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.

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This Month!

LOW_RES

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Those Ladies With The Comfortable Shoes

for National Poetry Day….

Why all the big fuss
About those ladies with their comfortable shoes,
Who mind their own business
Quietly
Sans heels
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!”
Or worse,
At passing strangers in the street.

I think that we can learn a lot
From those ladies with the comfortable shoes.

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In My Head I’m Still Nineteen Years Old, So Why Am I Stuck in This Old Man’s Body

Help! In my head I’m still nineteen years old, so why am I stuck in this old man’s body?

I can’t stretch, I can’t bend, oh where will it end? I’m still nineteen years old, so why am I stuck in this old man’s body?

My pace I revoke, my reflexes a joke. I’m still nineteen years old, so why am I stuck in this old man’s body?

And my feet they both hurt, my balance desert. I’m still nineteen years old, so why am I stuck in this old man’s body?

And I’d still like to chase women, but eyes they are dimming. I’m still nineteen years old, so why am I stuck in this old man’s body?

And my muscles I tear, what’s happened to my hair? I’m still nineteen years old, so why am I stuck in this old man’s body?

And I shake and I shiver, my wrists all a quiver and who’s that old fuck that I can see in the mirror? I’m still nineteen years old, so why am I stuck in this old man’s body?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Careers Day

When I went to meet the careers advisor,

I told him that I wanted to be

Superman,

Not Batman or Catman,

Or any other miscellaneous caped crusader,

But the Big Enchilada of men in tights,

The blue and red hero who puts the world to rights,

Mild-mannered Clerk Kent by day,

By night…

Well, let me put this another way,

Insurance executives have to wear suits and fly a lot,

Pretty boring,

But when you do it as Superman, it becomes really hot.

And are you qualified for this profession, the long-suffering advisor asks,

Can you fulfil the promise, complete the tasks?

And, looking at him witheringly, I reply,

Well my biological father,

Was a ruling member of Krypton’s hi-

erarchy and my mother put me in a spaceship

And sent me to Earth before our home planet went splat,

How’s that?

And can you produce references to that effect, he sighs,

Yes, I say, laying them on the table like a tissue of lies,

But…

These are gibberish, he exclaims, his breath redolent of Menthol Tunes,

No they’re not, I say defensively, they’re written in Kryptonian runes.

Well, I don’t know… he begins, getting irate,

I say, don’t be stroppy, just use Google translate.

So he writes me a chit to take back to school,

This lad is unemployable, he’s just acting the fool,

There is no place in this life, I have found,

For people able to leap tall buildings at a single bound,

And his blind determination, well, it makes me quite nervous,

I really think this boy should settle down,

And train for a career in the Civil Service.

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