The Namby-Pamby Poetry Prize, Two Thousand and Whatever

When faced with the depiction of the judge,
to transfer $20 seemed unwise.
                     You see,
I can’t produce the necessary fudge,
perpetuate the Emperor’s New Old Lies.
                     Sorry, but
I’m not engaged in any battle
with my own, or someone else’s, gender;
I’m not up with the Newspeak prattle,
won’t mix the latest issues in a blender.
your picture’s up, and stays up, out of fear:
fixed there by a guilt-deranged elite
who then condemn themselves to disappear
for passions unreflected on the street.
                     Bad news:
the plebs still trade the terms you all despise.
They process and respond to what they see,
and will until such times as techno spies
can monitor the mindspace of the free.
                     It’s true,
I won’t be winning any prizes soon—
your like will just dismiss me as a ‘hater’,
one miles and years behind, and out of tune—
but you’ll not be winning any later.

Dead at the Apollo

Backstage, the quinoa’s rising to the throat—
let them pay some price—but this can’t
match the nausea of sameness they create.
Consistency within a set—the tone of
knowingness, of flatness or defeat—
all bordered by the great subservience
engendered through the years.
           The compere’s been around—you
can tell it by the shiny suit, worn ironically
(or not). Much of what he growled out in his
early days cannot be returned to now.
And almost all of what he did offstage
he hopes is misremembered kindly
in the mists of ale. If not, he could be
atomised inside a week. Luckily for him
the people laugh, still buying the persona
that he crafted. He knows the game,
and how to play it. But the rules have changed.
           Enter next the whiny northern chap.
That cardigan’s so grim, we must be on his
side, right? Small enough already, he makes
himself still smaller. Hunched and gentle.
Come on, it’s ok to like me: I’m no threat.
Then we go again. My Gender: An Apology; Verse 310.
That’s his thing. The way to win the room.
The human incarnation of the kiddy cartoon father.
The world would be much better if…
I couldn’t get a girlfriend till the age of 26…
Us guys, what’s wrong with us…?
Half the audience is feeling guilty.
For half, superiority’s confirmed.
He’s done his job as warm-up man
for artist number three,
           for Ms. is here. She’s the one
they think they’ve come to see.
Been boosted and promoted by the BBC.
Inserted into panel shows. More or less
assured of being Doctor Who in 2033.
Her anatomic bloodfest starts, no
orifice denied. You wouldn’t be
surprised to learn that students from
St Barts are in here making notes.
Well, she’s so much more descriptive
than Professors Sharma, Yang or Jones.
She moves from there to boyfriends,
as she should. Guys, why is it that you always…?
And so and such and such and so again.
           Don’t worry, though, next week’s
being hosted by that bouncy bloke
who has all those epiphanies in Tesco.

Clear up the spew. Rinse. It’s not so rough.
When nothing’s funny any more
every wall becomes a door.