The Bad! Slam! No! Biscuit! stage is always set up with two microphones, but usually only one of them gets used. This was a poem for the other one.
You're a little left of centre but I like you that way
The ignored wallflower that stands mute
But with a word you arc up
And amplify thought
That's not to say you repeat without question
You're prone to distortion
And occasionally what you think is gentle feedback
Is enough to overwhelm and annoy us all
But I love you, standing stage right
Backed into a corner
We can strike together
And set fire to the night
In the remnants of the ashes
I will cradle you as a child
Singing sweet lullabies into your ear
Until we both fade out...
Our love is like a play
Where the actors have been given different scripts
And are madly trying to fit the right words together
So that an ending is reached
For a moment there I'd thought I'd lost you
Trusted your love to another's soft arms
Sacrificed your soothing words for the sake
Of some dear soul in greater need of
Your deep wisdom and your comforting thoughts
When I scanned the room and could not find you
The curve of your spine seemingly absent
My heart dropped like a lead weight in the sea
Had I in my rash haste cast you outwards?
Had I chosen to share you, lend your love?
I have, in the past lost many like you
But you are one I could not bear to lose
My life is a list of borrowed lovers
Who have left my doorstep and not returned
Names gathering dust in far off houses
Fear overwhelms me and in panic
I scour my house for a trace of you
Conjuring your faint image to my mind
I throw my anxious self about the rooms
Frantically searching high and low for you
For a moment there, I'd thought I'd lost you
Placed your pages in another's soft arms
But there you sit, hidden, partly obscured
Awaiting my touch and my devotion
Ready to tell your stories
My hand caresses the curve of your spine
Opens your cover, and your words spill forth
Curled against cushions, gazing at your face
You are mine and I am yours once again
And we rediscover an old friendship.
Bonus: Actual performance of the poem. ACT Poetry Slam Finals 2010.
This was the first poem I performed live, back when I was living with Josh Inman who dragged me along to the infamous Bad! Slam! No! Biscuit! at the Phoenix Pub in Canberra. It was very well received. Perhaps I should have quit while I was ahead...
I am getting up later in the day
When the sun is firmly lodged within the sky
And the remnants of the nighttime rainfall
Have long since vanished.
What reason can I conjure up or say
To justify my prolonged languishing
Is not the warmth of my soft mattress
Good reason enough?
I cannot blame the winter morning's cold
That casts the air as sharp as tempered steel
And hardens up the blades of grass
That crack underfoot.
Nor can I be so forward or so bold
To speak of fears of howling, bitter winds
That press against blue-lipped tired faces
No mental bonds restrain me to my bed;
I am happy, depressive thoughts are gone.
The choice is mine to leave my slumbered pose
And go face the world.
What keeps me here today is your fair head
Laying gently upon my naked chest
And as your eyes open up, I smile.
The day can wait.
Occasional dispatches of florid prose and metre.
Copyright © Gerard Atkinson 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the owner is strictly prohibited.