Monday, 27 July 2009

SOAP

Soap operas don’t wash with me,
With their Swiss cheese plots and implausibility.
Soapbox sermonisers talk a good game,
But I don’t like listening to them all the same.
I’d rather not get in a lather when someone soft-soaps me,
Despite the fact I’d much prefer they’d simply let me be.
Soap deception perpetrators really should come clean,
Soap comes in bars sometimes called cakes and are very often green.
Soap can be used for washing and acts that are obscene,
Especially when it’s wet and slippery—you know what I mean.
Like it or lump it, soap is here to stay.
Some soap is quite expensive—it’s surprising what you can pay.
Regular use of all kinds of soap keeps B.O away.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

THE MANTELPIECES

‘Go to Uni, son.’ Fathers cry in unison.
‘To provide more photographs for our mantelpieces,’ they further explain.
Then it’s down to each son’s academic brain,
To study; to earn future pictures of themselves wearing mortarboards and gowns,
The frightening prospect of their failure causes paternal frowns.
The dads’ fads, long forgotten, fed their youthful desires, but now—
The slips of girls they made love to are miserable cows.
So they invest their remaining ambition in their genetic tradition,
So they can fill the gaps on their mantelpieces.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

THE CHAPLAIN AND CHIEF LEE

Chief Lee, concerned, with his people,
Is inspired inside a steeple,
On top of his favourite church,
Within which the congregation perch on creaky pews,
They hear their minister spews,
Owing to his constant intoxication
The chaplain will sway and lurch,
While preaching about leeching and negative traits,
His alcoholism is funded by the weekly collection plates,
He urges feelings of love in people he hates.

One night in his bed, some anonymous man lay down beside him,
‘Who are you?’ He asks him, but the stranger is dead.
Next morning, mourning, he consults his most loyal parishioners.
Can the chap who’d lain next to the chaplain the previous night be identified?
No, they shake their heads in unison,
‘No, no,’ so many of them cried.
Could their chaplain—while drunk, perhaps—have killed a stranger in his sleep?
A stranger who might have prayed that if he died the Lord his soul might keep.
Was the chaplain to be believed?
They suddenly began to speculate, after years of being deceived.
The chaplain shook his hung over head,
Then—as was typical in the mornings—heaved.
As a youth, he’d felt consumed by the Holy Spirit,
Now, blinking bloodshot eyes, he consumes, wholly, spirits.

Friday, 3 July 2009

'WACKO JACKO' WON'T BE BACKO!

The untimely demise of Michael Jackson has precipitated a media-fuelled process that is becoming strangely familiar. A process involving mass grieving in public, hysterical overreaction and the phenomenal enrichment of florists; a process that first occurred, and most visibly, with the death of Diana. A process involving repetitive cycles of news bulletins with clich├ęd sound bites from celebrity friends, linked with footage of fans gathering in places connected with the deceased. A process that has no clear rationale behind the prioritisation of its coverage; causing Diana’s death to overshadow that of Mother Teresa and MJ’s to outrank Farrah Fawcett’s.
On TV, admirers relate their feelings of devastation with apparent sincerity, incongruous with their status as, often, complete strangers to their late icons. As superlatives are added to sentences of increasingly exaggerated praise, disproportionate to the achievements of any human life, marketing forces capitalise on relevant merchandise with the unselfconscious abandon of a swarm of locusts. Media mantras mesmerise members of the public into reactions of a Pavlovian nature. Discussions between people include the half-dozen or so catchiest headlines and quotes, becoming confused with their own thoughts.
There is much hypocrisy with this process of virtual deification—in Jackson’s case people seem afflicted with especially short memories. Forgotten are their previous impressions of the performer as a complete weirdo. ‘Wacko Jacko’ was the phrase most typically used to describe the eccentric star in life. In death, the same tabloid that coined this derogatory phrase published a 32-page commemorative souvenir in a vulgar display of obvious double standards. Although Jackson was cleared of child abuse charges, there was a widespread and general feeling among the public that there is ‘no smoke without fire.’ While Jackson’s reputation was tarnished by these suggestions—they would have irrevocably destroyed that of anyone else, famous or not—he appeared to bounce back. To survive suspicions and accusations of the type of behaviour that is universally condemned and considered so heinous it is irredeemable makes MJ unique. A fact as notable, perhaps, as the one that he produced the best-selling album of all time, ‘Thriller.’
Naturally, his death is sad—as sad as the loss of any life. How many millions of other people died around the same time is a hard to guess figure. Equally hard to figure is how public figures have come to figure so largely in the daily lives of significant numbers of people, leading pedestrian lives out of the limelight. Is there any shared sense (among anyone ‘out there’) of urgency behind the desire to understand this?