Originally from River Hill in rural west Kent, David Bateman came to Liverpool via Middlesbrough and Leasowe. Having had a severe stutter as a child and teenager, he finally had successful speech therapy in Liverpool in 1980, and has since performed his poetry widely, winning numerous poetry slams and competitions, including the Liverpool Poetry Slam Championship 2007. As well as poetry, he writes stories and occasional scripts and articles, and since 1998 he has been self-employed as a writer, earning his living from a combination of publications, performance and creative writing tutoring, the latter including much work in mental health day centres. His poetry for children has appeared in over 20 anthologies. His solo poetry publications are The Ideal God Competition (Reprobate 1989), From Jellybeans To Reprobation (Hybrid 1996), Curse Of The Killer Hedge (Iron 1996) and A Homage To Me (Driftwood 2003). He also edited the anthology, The Dead Good Poets Society: The Book (Headland 2005). His next book, More Spit Than Polish, will be a collection of his more political, silly and performance-based poetry, to be published by Driftwood in 2007. “Merseyside’s most popular performance poet” – Merseyside Arts Magazine. “A marvellous poet” – Pete McGovern (songwriter of ‘In My Liverpool Home’). “Pretty damn fine... one of those people they call a ‘genuine poet’” – Lavinia Murray.
The World’s Greatest Impressionist The world’s greatest impressionist is doing his regular show. He’s getting near the end and he comes to the point where he invites suggestions from the audience. Anybody! Anything! he says. You name it – I’ll be it! So this perfectly ordinary bloke in the audience says: Do an impression of me. Certainly, says the world’s greatest impressionist and welcomes the perfectly ordinary bloke in the audience up onto the stage: First I will need a few personal items. Taking the items, he smiles the gentlest of smiles, leaves the stage, walks out of the theatre and never returns. Arriving at the perfectly ordinary bloke in the audience’s house and entering it as if it were his own, the world’s greatest impressionist is greeted by the perfectly ordinary bloke in the audience’s wife, and slips seamlessly into his new life. He works nine to five at the perfectly ordinary bloke in the audience’s office each day, tends his perfect lawn and its ring of bright flowers each weekend with an ordinary love that only he could ever give, puts aside a little money each month to take his wife and children for two weeks by the sea each summer as always, and has no memory of ever having been anyone else. First published in Nightingale magazine, 2002. Mixed Doubles I dreamt that there was two of everything. I had two places to stay and two places to go and two of all the usual ways of travelling between them. It took me by surprise and I had to think twice about it but that was no problem. Even couples came in couples so when it was a toss-up between the pictures and the pub they could do both and no trouble. It was twelve of one and a dozen of the other. They could even have affairs and still be faithful at the same time. Everything went beautifully until I wound up in a love hexagon. It was hard enough keeping track of my own other half let alone my other half’s own other half. Unfortunately my other half’s own other half’s other half found out what my own other half had been doing before I did and got together with one of my own other half’s other halves’ other half’s own other half, and came round to beat the shite out of both of me. Fortunately I woke up at once. From David Bateman Curse Of The Killer Hedge (1996, Iron Press) Introverted I’m sitting in this pub with these three people who are arguing about how introverted they are. They’ve already agreed that introverted people are deeper and more sensitive and stuff, and now it only remains to be heard who can shout loudest about being the most introverted of all. I tried to speak five minutes ago but gave up. Couldn’t get a word in. I leave them to it. Go home and write a poem about it. Read it out next night. Slag them all off. I’m really deep. Really sensitive. And stuff. From David Bateman Curse Of The Killer Hedge (1996, Iron Press) The Sweetness Of Nightingales I licked the flying wing of a small brown bird as it passed my window. A flick of something soft and feathery, swallowed by the dusk, and gone. Previously published in The Express newspaper and in Ambit magazine, 1999. David Bateman
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