Another third person relationship poem; as yet untitled

You’d best shoot the messenger

if you like flowers in clear plastic coats,

or sugary hearts. This story contains

bleeding, dripping engine parts  and gears

repaired by an English mechanic in May.


He has a thick tongue and something

big to say. And it’s bound to be tricky.

Today, he’s bending his will around;

bullying it to get this great lump

past his throat. To do this, he’s been

chucking back supermarket coke.


By the time the time arrives,

his left knee resembles one of those

paint-mixing machines. Thrumming

and jiggling in time to the chaos, the

fear and the caffeine, in his brain.


The sign outside the garage

looks like rain. Its letters are wobbling

and lacking in firm, readable substance.

And we need this, he thinks. Proper,

substantial stuff, in order to live,

to breathe, to ask momentous questions

of a girl who’s soon to arrive.

But never mind. He will have to base

the night’s assertions on the vague,

shimmering sliver of love, which

he’s cultivated and kept, wedged

carefully into his hindbrain,

like toys on the back bedroom shelf.


And all of it will have to do

in place of a ring. ‘I really mean it’

instead of a loop of glorified tin.

A promise, in place of a public kiss.

A poem, and not a performance.

If it turns out for the best.

If she says of course, are you kidding? Yes.

This will all be worth.....


But time’s getting on.

He fixes his shirt sleeve, with a quick,

nervous flick of the cuff. Noticing

(for Christ’s sake) a tiny trace of dandruff

on the roughly ironed shoulder.

But it’s too late now. We are already

over the top, past the barbed wire,

well into the historic battle

of the J.L. Motors car park.

And this is all part of an epic,

ten year ‘I love you’ type war.


And she’s finally here.


◄ The Waiting

Just some object verse ►


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Mon 3rd Jan 2011 17:39

Jo, wonderful work. IMO, it doesn't need much more 'messing about'; I find in it a fast-paced portrait, innovative in the diction of detail and really brilliant in choice of images and information to project the character. The 'roughness' so presented requires great skill not lack of it. You are one GOOD writer!

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Andy N

Mon 3rd Jan 2011 12:10

i agree with ray on the 4th stanza here, Jo but it's a excellent piece as it stands to me (not sure if you are going to re-write it or what) but i like the particular use of the last line.. very clever xx

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Dave Bradley

Sun 2nd Jan 2011 23:05

A couple of minutes in the life of an ordinary man, but you've made us feel it intensely with him. Excellent

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Jo Mayers

Sun 2nd Jan 2011 22:50

Thanks you lot. Constructive comments, all. I'm going to give it some thought, and decide what to do next with the poem.

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Sun 2nd Jan 2011 21:02

A Great poem - even though it is long-ish, it is well-paced & kept me on the edge of my seat (sorry Ray-cliche alert!) - & wanting to read more - which is surely the point? Love it. B

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Rachel Bond

Sun 2nd Jan 2011 19:16

this reads like a novel, something to get your teeth into, im sure your mechanic would approve.
i have a bit of a thing with my mechanic...its all based on oily car parts but we've had many a tense moment leaning over the bonnet..oooo pass me a dirty rag!
smashing x

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Ray Miller

Sun 2nd Jan 2011 19:16

I thought it promised a bit more than it actually delivered, though there are some charming phrases. I liked this best - He has a thick tongue and something big to say.
Could do with paring down a bit, 4th verse, for example.

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Sun 2nd Jan 2011 18:27

That's an unflinching portrait, and highly engaging to read. I certainly recognise the unmarried man in that portrait! What will she be like I wonder...

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