THE NIGHT I TOLD GENESIS TO FUCK OFF
27 May 1972, Farnboro Tech
Chubby set up a trestle table inside & said to me
Mike was a student here & I’ve seen
the band practising at the Farnham Maltings.
They’re on fire!
I nodded, took the tickets
from my old school friend.
The Melody Maker
shakes hands with you on that, I said, Pass
my Dad’s regards on to yours.
The stairs behind
him went to room 306 where I spent two
years, one night a week, studying, & failing,
English A level. Then to the bar for two halves
of mild & ten Embassy.
gathered dust on stage, the drums & guitars
waited like groupies but the band were elsewhere
high, smoking, drinking & talking like me
and my girlfriend gabbing about how I never
spoke to Chubby at school, why I couldn’t
pass English, I mean, I knew Brave New World,
Two Cheers for Democracy & Anthony
and Cleopatra backwards.
It wasn’t that,
said my girlfriend, it was the essay, your teacher
said you wrote funny & not in a good way.
Just then a smell of musk arrived followed
by the ginger-haired Jasper, swearing as usual
and scratching his nose.
Then Nick, striking a pose,
saying Genesis sounded like a river of silver
that glows, & Jon, who really made an effort
to be hip with long hair, wooden beads, flowery
shirt, flares & suede boots; he was posh
and came from Farnham, the nicest town in Surrey
We sit & talk till the support come on
to play their dreamy cross of Bach & Bee Gees.
A break, two more glasses of mild then
ex-public schoolboys, Genesis, amble
from the wings & they looked earnest, the real deal
for a few seconds until the lead singer came on
dressed as a daffodil & sang, in falsetto,
Walking across the sitting-room, I turn the television off
Sitting beside you, I look into your eyes
As the sound of motorcars fades.
My girlfriend didn’t like this bunch of posers.
Jon & Nick loved them.
An hour later Daffy shouted
Do you want more?
I yelled back Fuck off.
The hall was silent & the band slunk off stage.
My girlfriend gave me a kiss & that was the best
thing I’ve ever done.
Telling Genesis to fuck off.
The cow sprained its fetlock jumping over the moon,
Claude Rains went shopping in Monsoon,
The cowboy mauled by the viper fell in the dune;
Good morning midnight — this is death in the afternoon.
However Ernie and Jean were seldom seen
In the same Parisian bar at once;
Though always on the absinthe, shying grenadine,
When drunk they could both be eyes fronts.
In Natalie Barney’s Temple d’Amitié,
They were scoffing a moveable feast;
The phantom of the opera slept all day,
Dining on cake not bread because there was no yeast.
They got drunker and drunker till the hour became late,
And the hunchback of Notre-Dame straightened right out;
At the Porte de Clichy, André Gide had straitened the gate,
And in Benjamin’s arcades all the lights had gone out.
So beware the demon drink, for it may ruin you;
You’ll think the sun is black with melancholy.
As Baudelaire said, opium’s far better, it’s true.
Your dreams may be bad, but you’ll kid yourself they’re jolly.
Some people seek answers to big issues
like the meaning of life,
or what happens to us when we die.
To them my issues are small fry,
insignificant in the scheme of things
and i have to confess, that stings.
Because I may not be intellectual,
my grey cells are somewhat ineffectual
when deep thought is deemed essential,
but to me, the small things matter more.
What are wasps actually for?
They get mildly angry and it’s all out war.
You try to repel them and they sting you to fuck.
Then they do it one more time for luck.
They show no compassion, not one little bit
The barbarous pointless stripy shits.
When I want to appear clever
I step it up a level and ask questions like….
If music be the food of love,
are cheese quavers an aphrodisiac?
Is there such a thing as cheese semiquavers to give a quick thrill?
If so, toss one my way if you will.
On the subject of food,
does a fruitfly count as one of your five a day?
I have my doubts
but if it does I can ditch the sprouts.
They’re not veggies, it’s a well known fact
They are Beelzebub’s scrotal sac.
It’s not just food that fascinates me.
Other things I need to know.
Is a really hard Englishman in Australia
called a Pommy Granite?
If I wrote a book on the history of censorship
would they ban it?
Is David Icke for real, damn it?
If a group of crows didn’t mean to get together are they a manslaughter?
Do waterpolo players ride seahorses?
Are you lot bored stiff, or is it rigor mortis?
If you buy a wok on the internet
is it an ewok?
When it arrives are you in for a shock?
And here’s a thing.
Will the first non binary monarch
be called their majesty the qing?
When they assess the age of a dinosaur fossil
is it even remotely possible
to know if it used anti ageing creams?
Calculations could all go to hell
if it used those products by L’oreal.
But the question that concerns me most may come as a surprise.
If you stick your head down the toilet,
Which is not very wise,
do you get floaters in your eyes?
Clive Oseman is a multi slam winning Brummie spoken word artist,comedian, satirist and promoter based in Swindon. His third collection “It could be verse” was published by Black Eyes Publishing UK in 2020, and his debut one man show “Getting To Know Elizabeth” was first performed on Zoom in February 2021..
Your underpants offend me.
I don’t care for the designer label,
I’d be happier if you felt able
To pull your sodding jeans up.
Up round your hips where they should be
Not sagging down towards your knee
So the rest of us are forced to see
Which may have a print of smiley faces
But fail to raise a smile on mine
And ‘no’, I’m not a moody swine,
My mood was actually quite fine
Until I saw your arse.
Which really doesn’t pass
For fashion sense or class.
If that is creativity
The art in it is lost on me
For all I see is PANTS.
And ‘yes’, this is a rant,
But one I feel is overdue,
For far too many men like you
Have got their underwear on view
And I don’t think it’s right.
It’s not a pleasant sight.
And even though you might
Claim your look is ‘hip’ or ‘street’
Your jeans are bagging round your feet
And seal the fate you soon will meet.
For suddenly you trip and fall
And face-down on the pavement sprawl.
Your jeans now well below your arse,
There’s nothing you can do to pass
For trendy, hip or cool.
You’re just a flat-out, fashion, fettered, fool.
“Is there no one who feels like a pair of pants?” Kenneth Koch, from his poem ‘Fresh Air’.
54% Polyester, 44% Virgin wool, 2% Elastane.
We met in the Men’s department of Marks and Sparks.
I was hanging on a ‘bargain rail’
squeezed between a short-sleeve, Hawaiian-style shirt
and a chunky mauve jumper, XX Large.
He examined my labels. Dry Clean Only.
I recall being taken only twice to Ballyhackamore Dry Cleaners.
The attendant addressed me as, ‘one pair of pants’.
I am, what-they-call, a year-rounder
which gives me an advantage over the 30 + pairs
vying for a prominent position on his wardrobe rail:
chinos, cargo, drawstring, khaki, joggers, jeans – regular,
relaxed and loose – suit pants, moleskin, 3 band hi-vis polycotton
and corduroy – narrow and wide wale, in cream, blue and green.
In lightweight wool I am his favourite for the Office,
but, in truth, I am uncomfortable in summer, supplanted by
cropped trousers, shorts and long-leg cool linen.
Sometimes I am worn 2-3 days consecutively,
then shunned for several weeks.
Stich by stich my loop-holes are unravelling,
I see the day when I am turfed out for some bright young Turk.
I stay positive, think back to happy days of our association.
I was there when his son was forceps delivered in theatre,
proud to carry the digital compact in my front pocket.
There is still a faint stain on my knee
from the spilled celebratory flute of bubbly.
Ray Givans lives in Belfast. He has been published in five poetry pamphlets, and in one full collection. The latter was ‘Tolstoy in Love’, published by Dedalus Press, Dublin. This collection was shortlisted for the Strong award, for best first collection by an Irish poet in 2009. His most recent pamphlet collection is, ‘The Innermost Room’, Salzburg Press, at the University of Salzburg
I want to praise thee, May Tree
For the joy you’ve given me
For those few weeks each year
You set my spirit free
When your gentle flowers bloom
You cover all that open space
that’s twixt my neighbour’s window
and what I call my private place
So for that special time
when you reach up toward the skies
I can run round bollock naked
Without his prying eyes
Hilary has been writing for a very long time. Her poems have been published by Templar Press, Bristol Poetry Can, Obsessed with Pipework, Leaf, Velvet, The Exeter Broadsheet and Mr Garnham himself. She has also been shortlisted nationally.
Eric worked at the post office.
Sorting letters at 6 am.
Home at four.
Picked up guitar.
Played ‘til his fingertips were sore.
He had a plan,
he had a goal.
Dug the blues and jazz and soul.
One a these days “Johnny Sansom” gonna MAKE the grade,
not just get post office pay.
Johnny played in pubs at night
until one am and only then,
did he worry about the early shift,
sifting letters and whistling riffs.
See Johnny was Eric in the broad daylight.
Monday morning six am
One of his post office friends
said “Man, you look just like the guy
played down the Bull and Bush last night.
Me and the Missus went for a drink,
she said she couldn’t even think,
‘coz this guy Johnny was in the bar,
trying to play an old guitar.
He could NOT sing.
He could NOT play.
What a WANKER,
she said to me.”