Tuesday, 29 September 2009

I Am Born (or, All the World's a Stage!)

My mother broke birth to me,
And there I was:
A silent lump of flesh and blood,
Entwined in afterbirth,
Wearing the placenta as a hat.

And immediately I started
Entertaining the doctors and nurses.
“Burble burble waaah!” I said,
(Which translated to the audience
As a scream)
“In the next thirty years,
I am here to entertain you!”

My mother lay quiet on the metal bed.
I had ripped her badly.

I shimmied a blood-red boa
And smiled. But then,
The doctor picked me upside down
And I hung mid-air like a joker
And I realised:
I’d left something backstage.
But I couldn’t remember what.

And then I screamed for real
As the doctor sewed and sealed the
Red curtains I’d rag-tagged through;

And the nurse measured me
With pincers;

And there was no happy father there.
And despite my initial confident

I was filled with stage-fright.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Poem for Pentwyn

Pentwyn (pron: pen-twin) is an area of Cardiff. It is on the outskirts, physically and in other ways. It's not all bad, but being a misery guts I have zoomed in on the sadness and dilapidation of the area, rather than its more positive points. This be the result:

Poem for Pentwyn

This is where the houses look like weeping heads
This is where the children sleep in unmade beds
This is where the washing hangs itself on lines
This is where graffiti obliterates the signs
This is where you find discarded clothing in the park
This is where the daytime’s just as dangerous as dark

Twined with no-one
A place penned-in
Pent up with sadness
More lose than win

This is where the bluebottles breed inside the bins
This is where the beer bottles lead to other things
This is where the lampposts blink like frightened men
Then black out when young girls shout beneath their gaze again
This is where the ragged woods are all choked up with cans
This is where the boys in hoods steal from each others’ nans

Twined with no-one
A place penned-in
Pent up with sadness
More lose than win

This is where the gardens grow busted-up TVs
This is where the needles that you find don’t fall from trees
This is where the sun beats too hard upon bare backs
This is where the rain falls down broken pavement cracks
This is where the women have one too many kids
This is where the kids end up in those ‘most wanted’ vids

Twined with no-one
A place penned-in
Pent up with sadness
More lose than win

Friday, 18 September 2009

Top Tips for Travellers

(1) Starbucks, to the weary traveller, with its air con, Earl Grey (with soya milk), and washroom facilities, is a godsend. Starbucks RULES! There can never be enough of ‘em.

(2) If waiting in a queue, try to stand behind Indian people (they are used to lining up, and seem to get ahead quickly – you can follow in their wake) and in front of Japanese people (they never push – if they try, look them in the eye, and they will fill up with shame and stop).

(3) NEVER stand in front of Russian people!!! Pushy buggers.

(4) The best hostels are the ones with free breakfast and cheap laundry/internet facilities. These ‘extras’ usually mean that the essentials are AOK.

(5) If you are walking about in America (say, NYC), and see a lot of very attractive, beautiful people, do not be disheartened. The ‘real’ people are in work! This lot are merely failed/wannabe actors/models.

(6) Try not to speak when buying items that have no price marked. Once they hear your accent, the shopkeeper will double (or even triple) the price. Give a confident smile and you will be fine.

(7) ‘Salad bars’ are the best thing in the US. They are made up of self-serve salad/hot food/fruit. You can try lots of different food in a plastic bowl. There is no excuse for not getting your 5-a-day.

(8) Speaking of which: never declare fruit to customs officials. Unless you WANT to spend an hour in ‘agricultural inspection’ just so they can dispose of it (‘it’ being that apple you took off the plane, and were only given cos you couldn’t eat their wheat-filled cake dessert). Just put it at the bottom of your bag and you will (probably) get through.

(9) If the fruit is discovered, say (in your primmest, plumiest Queen’s English accent): “Oh dear! I’m so sorry. I didn’t realise! Oops!” And, flutter your eyelashes. Again, you’ll probably be alright.

(10) Remember, outside of Wales you are a Brit. Do not confuse matters with talk of “Wales”. Unless you like explaining yourself over and over again to looks of total incomprehension. Which I don’t.