Category Archives: Autobiographical

Take Three

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Seeing as today’s other poem was a bit cynical and miserable, I thought I’d upload a sillier poem about another date with my girlfriend. This one was still a bit disastrous but for much more innocent and amusing reasons.

I had my arm twisted by a friend who worked in a coffee shop and ended up biting off more than I could chew.

This is only slightly fictionalised.

Take Three

The cashier heard we’d come to take
One piece of cake to fuel our break
He said Take three for goodness sake!
And so we did
A big mistake

And so I bought, not one, but three
A cup of tea (to make it twee)
My girlfriend raised one brow at me
But I was happy
As can be

The first: A sponge cake, as a team
We pushed through cream, the moistest dream
My girlfriend chuffed, I saw her beam
But things were not sweet
As they seem

Our second piece: A brownie slice
Ooh this is nice was whispered twice
We’d gambled and the rolling dice
Disguised our doom
As Paradise

Last of all, and with a sigh
We turned our eye to honey pie
We felt our organs twist and tie
And boil and burst
And fail and die

We sat unable to digest
Each lung hard pressed inside each chest
We fell to cardiac arrest
Were carried out
And laid to rest

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My health has desserted me

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Unquiet Slumber

Unquiet Slumber

A while back, I was at my friends’ wedding. They got married in a beautiful church and had the reception in a lovely venue at the bottom of the graveyard. There was a long and winding road to this venue but the quickest route was to weave between the graves themselves, edging your way down the reasonably steep hill.

That was alright on the way down but, by the time I left, it had been raining for a very long time and it was almost completely pitch black outside. This made the hill extremely precarious and turned the graves into hidden stumbling blocks.  On my way up, I had a little accident.

Unquiet Slumber

The sleepers lay in rows and columns
Names erased by years and years
Of Heaven’s tears
That sponged the stone
Fed the moss
Till all that stood were monoliths

But even these were barely visible
As the day decayed
Five pilgrims, I among them, felt their way
Between the shades of grey and black
Below the church a wedding choir sang
Shut up and dance with me
A hymn of innocence

I clasped a card
A token
My unspoken tribute I’d present
In homage to
The 405 to West Croydon

I fell behind as we proceeded
Up the tear stained hill
Still slick
Unobserved beside me, was a grave
Let me describe it to you

At the top, the gravestone leant
Itself grown old
It’s broken skin bled water on what lay below
The plot was marked by cornerstones
Four small, square stones that showed the sides

But as yet
I was unfamiliar with these details
Blindly slipping by
Till slipping by was slipping over

I don’t know how well acquainted you are with graves
Perhaps you’ve seen your share
Or laid a flower
Perhaps you’ve sat and cried
Or bowed your head
But I feel confident that very few
Very, very few of you
Have, at speed
Felt both feet fly off the ground
Fallen, flailing frantically
Your panicked cry drowned out
By a resounding round of
Here’s to you Mrs Robinson
As you plummet
Wrenching your leg over a cornerstone
And headbutting another

I have

I came to rest
Still smartly dressed
But now rocking that slightly ‘distressed’ look
And lay in imitation
Of the man, or woman, or child
I don’t know
Who lay 6 feet below
I took a moment
To confirm I was not broken
I heard my friend cry
Ben, what’ya doin’ on the floor?

I slowly stood
An unbearable agony
Prevented me
From putting weight on my left knee
In shredded trousers, trembling
I stepped one… little… step…

And fell again
My brain was overwhelmed with input
Overloading
Over I went
A spent force physically
And then came the collision

Head to headstone
Loaf to rock
A sickening clock

And so I lay once more
As will o’ wisps went winding through my eyes
Another cry Ben mate, get up
Just audible as revellers raised hands in praise
Exclaiming I’m in love with her and I feel fine

A wet and beaten, defeated figure
Rose from the grave

Astonished glances danced from friendly faces
Ben, what the hell happened to you?

I shook the dust from my clothes
Straightened my hair
You think this is bad? I said
You should see the other guy

This chili pepper opted to be buried at sea but, you know, cut backs.

This chili pepper opted to be buried at sea but, you know, cut backs.

The Moon Under Water

The Moon Under Water

The Moon Under Water is a name used by Wetherspoons for a lot of their pubs. The pub referred to in this poem is The Moon Under Water in Balham, London. The poem is quite new but the story dates back a couple of years to a time when, for various reasons, I stopped drinking any alcohol for a year.

The friend referred to in this poem has been arbitrarily named ‘Michael’. He is not based on any one person but is an amalgamation of people who I witnessed doing various things during that year. For the first time ever, I was sober around a lot of very drunk people and it gave me a very different perspective. Nothing in this poem is fictional but it didn’t all necessarily happen on the same occasion.

As with many of my more recent poems, this was written to be performed but hopefully it survives being written down.

The Moon Under Water

Filtered through the door
Of The Moon Under Water
I find my friends
Four pints in, each

BEN MOORE
BEN THE MOORE
BEN WE WANT MOORE
BEN GIVE ME MOORE
BEN TELL ME MORE TELL ME MOORE

These formalities out of the way
Michael waves me to a seat
Backhanding an old man standing a little way behind him
He offers to buy me a beer
A kind offer but I decline
I’m fine I say
I’m not actually drinking at the moment

Michael peers at me with narrow eyes
S’good he says s’good
Very wise
He nods with his whole body
Jolting the table and toppling the sauce caddy

I myself he says am cutting back
Here he smacks his quite slack jacket
Gonna get fat
He laughs so hard he knees the table
Others rush to steady their unstable drinks

Besides he says
Getting smashed is getting old
There’s nothing more sad
Than some overweight Dad
Wobbling his way home
‘Cause he didn’t get it under control when he was our age
He nods, having said his bit
He sits up straight
Well, sort of

I move to the bar to buy a pepsi
I’m passed by a precariously, Pisa-pointing, pickled pensioner
He walks a while
In the exaggeratedly sedate nature
Of a man who thinks no one will notice
He’s drunk beyond all reason
If he plays it cool
He wanders into the bathroom

His friend comes stumbling behind
Less concerned with disguise
Eyes rolling and body contorting
Like some sarcastic, elasticated gymnastic display
He accidentally pirouettes towards the bathroom
But the spin is too much
And quite suddenly
The evening’s booze flows forth
A firth of filth flung
Along with all the air in his lungs
HUUUUU HUUUUUU Hurled against the door
Sinking down to stain the patterned carpet on the floor

Finally
A single sob escapes his fetid gob
And a blob of slobber slips out
Stretching, stretching
Fssllghllllsll
Sucked up
Retching
Then
Satisfied
We both return to our seats

Michael gestures at the scene
Sweeping my glass clean off the table
He looks at me
Or rather, sort of, all around me
I think
Here he stops to drink and shake his head
I think
That guy is drunk

There are better ways to enjoy alcohol #trendyalesfortrendymales

There are better ways to enjoy alcohol #trendyalesfortrendymales

Rain

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In David Bowie’s song Five Years, he sings ‘It was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor’. I think I understand what he means here. I’m sure we’ve all had moments where it’s been raining and we picture ourselves as the hero of some great romance or drama.

Later, when we’ve been in the rain for a bit, we realise that actually we’re just wet and cold and pathetic.

Rain

Standing in the rain
Windswept turns to pitiful
As the rose tint fades

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These plants and I disagree about what exactly constitutes ‘good weather’

Pins and Needles

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This is another haiku used to fill a space in my notebook.

Back when I was in year 7, we always had assembly in the morning and we had to sit on the floor for the whole thing. Every morning, without fail, I would lose all feeling in my right foot. When I stood up, I would have to half hop, half wobble my way towards the classroom. However, before I ever made it back to my class, the most excruciating pins and needles would completely incapacitate me. I would stop in the middle of the hall, resigned to my fate, and wait for them to pass.

Pins and Needles

Sat down awkwardly
Lost all feeling in my foot
Guess I live here now

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Me and my right leg went our separate ways years ago

The Late Night Visit

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If I find a gap in one of my poetry notebooks that is too small for one of my usual pieces, I like to write a haiku or limerick to fill the space. This is one of those filler poems.

A few weeks ago, I was woken at 01:30 by a loud knocking. This knocking went on for some time and seemed to be coming from my front door! I brushed it off as a lost drunkard but, the next night at 01:30 the knocking was back again, louder and more frantic than before. I thought I might be having a recurring dream, but my housemate heard it too! I have no idea who was knocking or why.

The Late Night Visit

Knocking on the door
What time is it? 01:30
I’m ready to die

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Do I have time to update my status to something witty before I am killed?

 

Good Morning

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This poem was written during a week where I had to get up at varying early hours and work all day. I’m rather prone to insomnia so I was suffering slightly by the end of the week and my first emotion, every morning when the alarm went off, was rage at the world. One evening, as I worked late into the night, I decided to channel some of my anger into a poem. I started it in the evening and finished it in the morning. The result is an angry but quite silly poem. I’m sure people will sympathise with the feelings expressed here.

Unusually for me, this poem was written more to be spoken out loud than read off paper. Hopefully it won’t lose its impact being written. Try reading it out loud or sounding it out in your head to get a picture of what I was aiming for.

Good Morning

When the alarm sounded
A sudden, profound, and all consuming
Fuming and festering thought
Wrought an almost indescribable change in me

The deep seated sedation
Though well within its expiration date
Was devastated
The enduring security of bed’s allure
GONE GONE GONE GONE GONE

Slipping from the summit
I plummet and crawl
And I can’t help but think
Of that very first fall

Seeing that it was good to eat
Sinking her teeth into the sickly sweet
Go on, indulge a little, sinful treat
Feeling the world tremble and rage
And rue the rebellion, and break
Beneath her feet

Perhaps, in that moment
What she felt, in the fear
The new weariness wracking her bones
And the tears now running
Still stunned by the sudden dysfunction at play
In ways she could never have dreamed

Perhaps, what she felt
Might be close
To the flood of emotion
The long, lord help me
Self reflection
Self deception
Self defence
Deflection of the inevitable knowledge
That all is not as it should be
All summed up for me
In the earnest and agonised cry of my heart
Expressed in a faintly heard
But aggressively stressed
Four letter word

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO