by mikey delgado
‘admire me I am a violet! dote upon me I am a primrose!’
—- John Keats
it after all, a place for the genuine’
—- Marianne Moore
Here come the twisted spines of lives
we can barely imagine,
stumbling from the mobility buses
and disabled parking bays
for sunny summer days
in the park; the carers comfort
the keening girls
who but for the tortured wombs and genes
of their progenitors
would be hunted by lechers and suitors
in ravening packs; the moaning boys,
spasming stiff-limbed in their wheelchairs –
they would be among those same packs
if it weren’t for this … this … this what?
This obscene luck. This whatever it is.
This time them. Next time us.
And hot on their heels comes this,
these slim new volumes, this earnest life,
this lecturing hectoring didactic outpouring,
this humourless, pretentious, useless posturing,
this pseudo faux public caring
for all but the nameless and unconsidered
who live poisoned and crippled
for the relief of the ranters’ own appetites,
for their privileges and air miles,
and their burgers and grilled meats,
and comforts and leather goods,
and their diverse unwitting casual cruelties.
The impotent struggle-free ranting and raging,
the artfully managed image staging,
the nuance-free manicheanism,
the look-at-me ‘o me miserum’,
hammered onto pages
with their straight left and ragged right edges,
compounding the fantasy
that the writers are reinventing poetry,
that their arrival on the scene
is somehow making it new.
Other than these delusions of grandeur,
other than those slight reservations,
yeah, I love it, really fresh, really cool.
I exclude myself from none of these charges,
we’re prone to it. Networks proliferate it,
the blowing of smoke up backsides,
the quid pro quos, the validations,
the thumbs ups. I don’t know what’s it’s doing,
I know what it’s not undoing. Like the shadow boxer
who bobs and weaves and feints
it lands no punches on anything it pretends to be against,
It’s pretty harmless, it changes nothing – as Auden said,
it’s consoling pretend activism for the far off dead,
the helpless condition of chittering apes,
passing through briefly, briefly alive.
I suppose it all has a purpose (of sorts).
For all our overwrought and holy thoughts
I award us all 5 shiny and golden stars.
Mikey Delgado is a part-time tiler and sometime writer from London. He hopes soon to be able to give up writing altogether and become a full-time tiler. Some of his tile work is viewable here: