Saturday, 25 August 2012

Er, yeah... em, Merry Christmas (and Ciao, Edinburgh)

As expected, tonight has been a bizarre night, full of lots of tinsel, spray on beards and general weirdness added in! Pass the parcel didn't go as planned but I hadn't actually ever directed a pass-the-parcel game, only participated... and several years ago. However, it was an action-packed night with two other poets I'd not heard before whose words will stay with me beyond Edinburgh, so there's a bonus!

Armed with few self-indulgent references to two of the poems I perform most frequently, and no idea how I was going to inject some festive spirit into my performance, I wrote my first ever Christmas poem today. Unfortunately, I was unable to perform it at the gig, although I managed to get it out at the Free Fringe Spoken Word Awards afterwards so, voila, here it is:

Crepe Paper Hats

They asked me if I had a Christmas poem
So I said... Ho ho ho no!
I cannot not mince my words into pie-sized sound bytes
I get bored of these charades
Find it too hard a task
For you to ask me to cast a jingly glow over my words to mask
The serious word play crocheted into its foundation

My words are not turkeys to stuff full of James Bond clichés
Reruns of Star Wars
Or Home Alone 1, 2, 3, 4... and how many more before we realise
It isn’t that entertaining watching mothers abandon their children over Christmas
Especially when you’re a child who just wants to be left alone?

But if this were to be a Christmas poem
I’d say this isn’t just any Christmas poem
This is a choice selection
Of cluedo, monopoly, monotony
And a lobotomising litany of all the films you’ve ever seen since you were five
Like the Never-Ending Story has really never ended
Just waited for you to return one year later to the bum-shaped dent on your mother’s sofa
You created at the beginning of time

Only each year it gets wider
Like an (unnamed) relative’s yawning mouth as she reaches out
With her bingo wings to retrieve another glass of Bailey’s

This isn’t just any Christmas poem
This is a carefully basted cut-and-pasted
Stitch-work of all the ghosts of Christmases past and present
That present itself annually...
Like the present they keep asking after
Like how are you to say you left the sweater
On the tube the following day?
But yes you really love it! And pink is so your colour!

This isn’t just any Christmas poem
This poem should be hanging off trees
And dancing in drunken office dos
Releasing itself from the grip of tongues
Loosened by libidinous Lambrini
And peach schnapps

This poem is more polished that the Queen’s Speech
More out of reach than those Ferrero Rochers way up above the cupboard
Your mother had been leaving for a special occasion

This poem, as violently sudden as an invasion of bombs on Lebanon
As a boxing day hangover looms
And your brother enters the room and says lets switch off the news:
Your nephew wants to watch cartoons

 This poem should be a Carol
A lullaby and hallelujah nativity scene
Printed on a last-minute card
You forgot to send before the last Christmas post

This poem is a ghost of white baby Jesuses
Decorating the walls in the Halal burger bar

This poem should be a Carol
Although if it has to be a man
It should be a Cliff
Hanging onto the charts with a dodgy rendition of
[sung] Our Father Who Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name...
And if Pussy Riot can be jailed for defaming Christ
Then we should let Sir Cliff Richard suffer the same

This poem is a shameful gluttonous, overrated, belly-bloating
Feast you need to sink your teeth into

And this poem isn’t just any Christmas poem
And if it were to continue
You would have to release another notch on your belt
Ease yourself down into your chair
Borrow a pair of reindeer antennae
And tune in to the tinny tinge of tinselated references
Injected into its rump

But I shall leave this poem here as just a stump
An unwanted turkey drumstick chucked out
Onto the (Only Way Is) Essex asphalt
An unwanted burp emanating from a mouth that has already said too much
Drunk too much
Been fed too much
And as such, before I venture into territory I dare not tread
I shall leave this poem here
Like a crepe paper hat hanging over an embarrassed head

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