The Haunted Cult of Walking Away by Bobby Parker

This is me holding a voodoo doll.

This is me waving the doll over the hob.

This is me being silly, doll down my pants,

shrugging like a nineties sitcom doofus.

This is also me, going a bit mad, in the garden.

Ha-ha… Look at the sky! Weird isn’t it?

That’s my dear old mum, bless her, screaming.

Without her my daughter wouldn’t have nice clothes.

There’s dad, half cut, staring at a black cloth.

We never came to blows and I’m proud of that.

They’re always asking what happened, oh

what happened, son, what happened?

The voodoo doll is not meant to represent

anyone in particular, although I’m sure

you’re sharp enough to notice it bears

a striking resemblance to the snake man

who rattles beside my wife and sells

her telly for dope; who sometimes tells

my daughter to wipe herself on a towel

because they can’t afford toilet paper;

who isn’t bothered the divorce isn’t fixed yet.

We are talking about the biggest creep in town,

living with my daughter, doing heroin

next to the bedroom where she wets herself.

I could kill him I could kill him I could.

Anyway, this is me throwing the doll

as far as I can, then running after it

on all fours with the most beautiful sunset

exploding cake and bottles of pink wine.

I mean clean powder and a holy syringe.

I mean glory, glory, my girlfriend’s smile.

Finally, this is me in my doctor’s office.

She wants to increase the medication,

thinks it will improve my quality of life.

She says perhaps it’s not that I left a home,

or that I left a wife & child, it’s because

I walked away from love, and those of us

who walk away from love are haunted

and we must learn to live again, bound

by the rules of the haunted cult of walking away.

You know, I wrote a poem about how much I hate

our abusive neighbours, just before it was published

they mysteriously moved out. Isn’t that spooky?

And my wife looks at me like I fucking murdered her.

And her boyfriend smokes it he doesn’t inject!

And my daughter kisses the freckles on my arm.

She says, ‘Why did you leave us daddy?’

She tells me their budgies die from hunger.

She says daddy is so forgetful, his brain must be

a half-crushed sandcastle, waiting for the sea.

Then there’s this doll, posing for a photograph.

This is me holding a match and a can of petrol.

The truth I beg you the truth the truth the truth.

Haunted for the haunted for the haunted forever.

I sometimes wonder if I wrote a broken family

into existence, using poems like this, and that,

someday, maybe, I could write them back.


Bobby Parker’s writing has appeared in a wide range of magazines in print and online. In 2015 he was awarded a grant from the Society of Authors. His controversial poem, Thank You for Swallowing my Cum, was included in the poetry anthology Best British Poetry 2015 (Salt). Bobby’s debut poetry collection Blue Movie is available now from Nine Arches Press.

3 thoughts on “The Haunted Cult of Walking Away by Bobby Parker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s