Blatant by Robert Garnham

This is who I am.
The only trick that nature pulled
Was to instil its hate in you.
I’m still your son.
There were childhood days of sun
But this isn’t playtime,
It’s very real.
If I could change the way I feel
Just to please you, I would.
I haven’t strayed.
The path is as obvious as it always was.
I will not sully your house
Or your name.
The touch I crave is not alien, nor supernatural,
But human.
I’m not the first to feel this way,
Even if I am your only.
Why would you want me
To be lonely?
This is who I’ve always been.
There was no switch,
I didn’t press a button
Marked with unwitting defiance,
I was not inspired by soap opera shenanigans,
Nor whims, nor fashion statement,
The suburbs will not catch fire
Because I have transgressed whatever manly
Aspirations are normally thrust on the first born,
I’ve never sought undue attention
And this is not the start of it.
You know me.
And you know me, really.
You always did, only you preferred
It would never be addressed,
You preferred an alternative narrative,
It hardly makes a difference.
I can only think that you hoped
I was the only one who didn’t know.
This is who I always will be.
Your comfort, your solace, your tutelage,
Your charity, your benevolence, your humour,
Your decency, your honour, your respect
Live in still in me and will do always
That I should exist in each moment
Wrapped up in the man that you created,
Presented to the world
With pride and with love, still, your son.
This is who I am.
And while I cannot understand,
I can certainly look you in the eye
With absolute truth.
The only trick that nature pulled
Was to instil its hate in you.
Robert Garnham is a comedy spoken word artist from Devon. Although light in tone, his work deals with LGBT issues and social representation and has an undercurrent of seriousness. His first collection was published in 2016 by Burning Eye Books, and he was long listed for the Saboteur Awards in the category Spoken Word Artist of the Year. He has narrated and appeared in a short film, ‘Professor in the Bathroom’. Robert provides workshops for adults and sixth form students in comedy poetry, and has been Poet in Residence at the Artizan Gallery in Torquay, and on the LGBT radio magazine show ‘Listen Out’ in Exeter.

Steadfast by Robert Garnham

Imagine a prison

Impossible to break from

Yet without physical form.

Invisible walls

Built not of brick but of pain,

Notions, expectations,

Life ruined by the abstract.


There are others of your kind

Unseen in their struggle

But the very nature of your

Unique and sublime imprisonment

Blinds you to them.

Rather than fight, they line

Or else ignore the obvious,

Faces sweating behind bitter masks.


Those who are fortunate

Fill you with anger.

Their love is nought but luck,

And how lucky they love,

Another bead of sweat rolls

Beneath your jaded caricature.

They’re so immature!


You dance in your mind,

Rhythms so sensual,

Pounding party silly rhythms,

Inexplicable sun shining smiling

Fresh faced rhythms incomprehensible

That fact should swamp denial.

Go on, dance, close your eyes and

Dance and let yourself go in a

Way that shouldn’t be disco lights

Flashing almost unbelievable as you

Submit to the bounty of freedom

Sugar flip heart thump moving

Fingers across the forbidden and

Not one ounce of tired regret.

Just don’t. Open. Your. Eyes.


Steadfast in your culture,

Grey tomb of the senses,

Flesh unblemished to the whip crack

Absolute devotion to the ether

Shouting loudest through sheer pride

You’ve got to do what’s right

You’ve got to do what’s right

You’ve got to do what’s right.


Imagine a prison

Impossible to break from,

Not one, but many,

As many prisons as there are poets

And in some places more than others

From which

Only a lucky few have ever escaped

The Doors by Robert Garnham

For those who are the exquisite hidden in cupboards.

For those who fortune denies because they refuse to shout.

For those who would otherwise shine so bright were it not so dark and needlessly so.

For those who more conscious than the jaded so called moral imperative.

For those who multicolour the beige.

For those who feel that burning pounding quick-tempo heartbeat tick tick ticking absolute proof down deep within.

For those who don’t want to upset anyone.

For those who are being true to themselves.

For those who love.

For those who would dearly like to love but never will so long as they’re fumbling in the pitch dark.

For those who would spread compassion if given the chance.

For those who stand tall and proud in the face of ignorance.

For those who challenge the invented with the blinding torch of truth.

For those who caress and whisper sweet nothings and then open their eyes to find an empty bed.


For those who don’t want to shock and close the door voluntarily.

For those who care too much.

For those who feel they have no brothers or sisters.

For those who feel they are the only person ever ever ever ever to feel this way.

For those who make a thousand tiny differences a year.

For those whose revolution will knowingly take longer than their own lifetimes.

For those who would otherwise be flogged or hanged or stoned or cast from the safety of decent thought by those who profess to know the truth of words written fluently yet deliberately twisted ambiguous in order to hide the cultural anger seething beneath.

For those who delete their browsing history.

For those who try to prize open a door knowing that it will be slammed shut but keep on trying nonetheless.

For those who paid the ultimate price.

For those who resort to secret languages and those who give in and try to decipher filled with the eager promise of just knowing.

For those who are afraid.


For those who never will.

For those who see the world quivering ecstatic and reach out with trembling fingertips ever so eager to be a part yet knowing deep down they never will because they are really not as brave or as fortunate as those who color the world with love.

For those who hide behind masks of dubious preferences just to make it look like they are one of the crowd.

For those who are furious.

For those who are curious.

For those who log on with an alias.

For those who dance ecstatic the most writhing sexual beautiful hypnotic dance but only to themselves alone alone alone in the mirror.


For those who feel that everything is hopeless faced with ninety six percent against, newspaper editorials, fuming spitting evangelists, political bullies, idiots with guns and clubs and religious texts, charismatic spirituality, cultural commentators and peddlers of hated.

For those who burst out so fast that the world never could catch them.

For those who burned up too soon.

For those who took a chance and flowered briefly then disappeared leaving behind them the hint that if done differently it might actually work.

For those who are vehement in their love.

For those who are just plain unlucky.

For those who are scared.

For those who are scarred.

For those who would otherwise be sacred.


You are the real

And your time will come

When superstition loses and common sense takes over.

Pile up your love right now

So that when the doors finally open

It will all come tumbling through.


I am a spoken word artist from Devon, and my website is