DEATH BY THE EXPRESS NEWSPAPER
(i.m. Bill, my neighbour)
SURRENDER, PLOTS, DIVISION, SCREW YOU,
SHOCK, WARNING, CIVIL WAR, END OF EU,
GREEDY BANKS, RECESSION BOMBSHELL,
REAL CATASTROPHE, COLLAPSE, BETRAYAL
I take Bill to A&E to see a Consultant who says
Stop reading the EXPRESS. It causes heart disease,
hypertension, kidney failure, blurred and distorted vision,
obesity, excessive drinking and erectile dysfunction.
DEMANDS, PANIC, APPALLING, LIAR, CHAOS,
DOOMSDAY REPORTS, TORN APART, LASHES,
MASSIVE CURB ON MIGRANTS, CRISIS, SMASHED,
REVOLT, SHAMEFUL, VILE, DESTROYED, GUTTED
but it’s hard for Bill to stop reading because
it’s part of his daily routine, the EXPRESS
says what he and everyone thinks, he adores
the letters, comments and will devour until he dies
the hard truth – ATTACKS, WORLD WAR 3 FEARS,
ROWS, DEFEAT, SOCIETY IS BOILING, TEARS,
HYPOCRITE, NO REMORSE, TIMEBOMB, CLASH,
SCRAMBLE, SCANDAL, ALERT, SAVAGE BACKLASH
pickers carry him from his home, with the EXPRESS
spread over him like a blanket covering his breast
so people can read the worst ARSENAL LOSE AGAIN
and WORLD TO END, DISASTER, DIES IN PAIN
CELEBS WHO THINK THEY ARE GODS
An endless round of wannabes wait in the studio for their decorative, sick ceremonies to be televised on an almost daily basis. They live in a different atmosphere, are unlikely to be arrested for drug offenses or imprisoned and see fleeting fame as a plausible ambition for all. This “narcissistic personality” keeps them going but many of these celebrities are just plain boring. They haven’t learnt from real life experiences, magazines or Netflix. Yet mortals worship them even though they peddle the same boring shit. People worship them as minor deities, although Jay-Z and Beyoncé are obviously Zeus and Hera.
SHE DIDN’T SEE ANY EUPHONIUMS
Each Remembrance Day, Francine Partridge watches from her bedroom window a military brass band wearing caps, red jackets with gold bottons and a white belt, with black trousers and boots, sparkle along the road. They hold shiny cornets, horns, trombones, tubas and, the one in the middle wears a leopard skin over his tunic and thumps a big drum and, around him, snare drummers perform insane tricks. The Drum Major with a blue sash carries a heavy white mace and shows off his finger rools, neck wraps, rifle tosses, spins and flourishes. The band are playing “Old comrades” as they wheel into St Michael’s Road. One by one the band disappear. Each day for twenty years Francine sits by her window waiting for another display. One way of wasting a life is as good as any other, says her mother Florence Oppenheimer.
Rodney Wood lives in Farnborough has poems published in Orbis, Envoi, Magma, The High Window and The Journal. In 2017 he published a pamphlet, Dante Called You Beatrice, with The Red Ceilings Press. He also jointly runs an open mic and is the Stanza rep for Woking.
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