Editor Christopher Writes – A Poem A Day For A Year: 28/01/15

Well, the first month of this challenge is almost at an end. 28 days down, 337 days to go. 337 days to hang on to whatever small vestiges of sanity I had to begin with.

7% down. I’m not even going to go into a word or line count. As you may have seen, the shortest poem has been 4 lines long, the longest has been 112 lines. I’m not even convinced most of it is actual poetry. I think it may all just be a symptom of some bad chicken I ate just before New Year.

Having said all that, I am genuinely enjoying writing. I spent quite a few months not really writing much of anything. As you know, I went through a bit of a depression and everything just sort of halted Doing this poem-a-day has been a way of starting to get out of the rut I was in. Getting this new job has helped massively too! Amazing what a change of scenery (and underwear) can do for the psyche.

As this month draws to a close, I am looking towards February. We are launching an off-shoot to Bunbury called #poemadayforayear. Obviously, it will feature this challenge. We have also invited artists and photographers we have previously published in Bunbury to provide visual distractions throughout. We are very excited to get going with it. We hope you will get involved and read too.

In the place I work in now, we have (much to my chagrin but this is genuinely the only thing I object to) Radio One on in the shop. I guess it’s the station the most appeals to the masses – awful that the masses are in their tastes. The one good thing about it is that it has regular news updates. Well, it’s a good thing packaged as a terrible thing, given it is presented by vocally-gurning chimps who have the news-reader-required-gravitas of a boiled egg. A boiled egg painted purple. A boiled egg painted purple with yellow polka-dots. In a clown’s pocket.

Also, Radio One is the current radio station, isn’t it? They play the ‘best in current music’, which is like saying the have the smelliest poos in the land. They were just playing ‘Hall of Fame’ by The Script (it only finished 30 seconds ago and I still had to look it up on-line.) That song was out almost three years ago. That’s practically a golden oldie by their own standards!

Anyway, the news. I heard yesterday about this whole Cumberbatch stuff. Saying the word ‘coloured’ on a chat show while talking about diversity in Hollywood. OK, the word is out-dated but offensive? I can think of three words that are far, far worse than that. I don’t even like the fact that I know these words.

I mean, he wasn’t being racist. If you listen to what he was actually saying, he was being a great advocate of diversity. He simply chose the wrong word. And let’s face it, the goalposts have shifted that much that sometimes it is hard to get the right word. Apparently, you are supposed to use ‘black’ or ‘brown’. (I could be completely wrong about this! If I am and I have offended you all, then that only puts me in the same crowd as Cumberbatch, which is not bad company to be in!) Now for me personally, I would feel extremely uncomfortable using those words. That is probably how Cumberbatch felt in the interview. Making an eloquent point, trying to find the right word and missing fractionally.

Now, when I say it is hard to find the right word, that does not quite cover it. Obviously, it is easy to miss the obviously wrong words. Those three unmentionable words from before are very easy to miss. There is just no question whatsoever on those ones. But ‘coloured’ is almost so minimally offensive so as to not be. I think once again a whole heap of nonsense has been kicked up by people who just want something to be up-in-arms about something because there hasn’t been anything to complain and find offensive for a while.

Give it a few more days and they’ll all be writing in to complain that Frankie Boyle no longer does Mock the Week.

Here is a poem.

Do you ever get that feeling your being watched,

from that empty space just out of sight?

Like a non-corporeal hand hovering

between your shoulder blades.

Do you ever think about it for a few moments,

a chill running from your hips,

curving to your spine and up to

the base of your skull?

The chill creates a shiver and just out of sight

something moves. You know something is there,

but what? That hand presses a little

harder and you want to look

but you’re too afraid to look. You keep staring,

with exponential concentration

at the book in your hands

or what’s on the TV, or out of the window.

Your neighbour taking out the rubbish

suddenly is the most fascinating thing

you have ever seen. You want to look at anything

anything except what just moved behind you.

Another chill, another flutter of movement.

You have to look,

you need to look. Like in that urban legend.

Don’t turn around but you can feel your head being

dragged. You will probably see your own

disembodied face, eyes gouged, blue, puffy lips.

The curiosity will kill you though if you do not

at least find out.

You turn and you do see your own disembodied head,

floating cast against the wall,

larger than life and dark

in the absence of light.