My Dad tells a very amusing story about his art teacher Mr Garrett. I’m reluctant to explain it too much in this introduction because I think the poem will summarise it quite well. Suffice to say, my dad and Mr Garrett didn’t really get on. As is becoming quite standard with my newer posts, this was written to be performed. At some point in the future, I’m going to try and make some videos of me performing poems!
Where’s your perspective Philip?
Lacking something that should clearly be innate
Philip takes the berating again
The bulging Mr Garrett’s mantra like cry
Brings with it a beating
A bash in the belly
Philip… WHERE’S your perspective?
A London school, sometime in the Seventies
Philip – young lad – short, black hair
Departs the rooms
He and all the other guys are
None the wiser
As to what ‘perspective’ even is
Where’s your PERSPECTIVE Philip?
Another week, another art class
Another fast jab in the gut
An ever growing
Weak once, but now getting strong
Inherent sense of WRONGness
And as the classes roll by
Philip tries to forgive and forget
But as yet, repentance is not forthcoming
And his tummy turn purple with the pain and rage
And so the stage is set for vengeance
Where your perspective PHILIP?
There’s danger on the horizon
But Philip can’t see how close it’s come
Where’s your perSPECTive?
Mr Garrett turns away and bends
And here ends Philip’s patience
Rather than report this man
And face the disdain or disinterest of his elders
He will take matters into his own hands
Children squeak with alarm
As Philip winds back his arm
Which then disembarks
On a perfect arc
And end with a stark THWACK
Smacking Mr Garrett’s backside
Before he went into teaching
Mr Garrett had another name
Yes, in case you haven’t guessed
He was a wrestler
Who packed it all in
To begin a career
Close to his heart
So, as we return to the seventies
Mr Garrett, no nonsense, ex-wrestler that he is
Turns slowly to face Philip
And, though he doesn’t know it
What Philip has now
Is perspective, of sorts
He can see everything leading up to this moment
The lump in his throat grows
And he knows
That was nothing
That was nice
Compared with what is coming
Are you sorry Philip?
Are you sorry?
PHILIP ARE YOU SORRY?
The problem is, he’s got Philip in a jaw lock
Blocking any apologies that might have been attempted
Ng sy, Ng sy
What? What did you say?
Are you sorry?
Ng sy, Ng sy
A London school, sometime in the noughties
Ben – young lad – long, black hair
Sits in another art class
None the wiser as to why his eyes
Are so hard to draw
Why the face he’s attempting to recreate
On the page before him
Comes out so misshapen
He’s taken so much care
Perfectly shading and curling the hair
But the shadows and the angles
Ms Evans leans over
No Ben, that’s not right
She obliterates three weeks work
With a borrowed rubber
Leaves unfased by the look of hatred
Growing on Ben’s face
Her parting words
As she turns back:
It was lacking something
You know, what’s the word I’m looking for?