When I was younger, I fancied myself quite the budding poet and used to scribble out random and garbled verses that were mostly really shit, but hey, at least they rhymed.
In highshool I got published in a collection of poetry compiled by the poetry institute of Africa called ‘Shadows and Silhouettes’ which got me pretty excited until the thing finally arrived and I realised they’d pretty much published EVERY SINGLE POEM THEY GOT SENT.
To get published I think you just had to bang a out a verse or two and be in highschool, that was about it.
I tell ya, life is shitty sometimes. My buddy Barbarian fucking nailed it on Saturday night. We were sitting in his flat in Vredehoek and talking about some random thing or other when he said the funniest thing I’ve heard in months.
‘Christmas food,’ he said, ‘is crap.’
That simple sentence nearly had me in tears because he’s fucking right. The turkey is always way too dry and stringy, the Christmas pudding gives you the runs and mince pies are severely overrated.
You put your knife and fork down after eating Christmas food and you feel like your internal organs are dangerously close to rupturing.
No matter what anyone says, at that stage, you’re glad Christmas only comes once a year.
See, the magic of a thing is in the anticipation of it. The moment I found out I was going to get published, my adolescent mind filled up with all kinds of hallucinations of grandeur and I was pretty sure fame and fortune were close at hand.
Needless to say, over the next few years I wrote less and less poetry and became more and more sceptical of other ‘poets’. I started to suspect that really what they were doing was using poetry as a guise to write a pile of wanky shit that means nothing to anyone, including the person who wrote it.
This is especially true of the so called ‘poets’ who used to haunt open mike nights in varsity.
Pale, frail and nervous looking people, they would always go up there and read something that sounded like a confession about how their uncles fiddled with them when they were young and now they spend their alone time in their granny’s knickers listening to Anthony And The Johnsons.
I got drunk one night at such an event and wrote some poetry of my own on a serviette. After a particularly heart-wrenching performance by a guy who only just barely managed to keep his shit together onstage, I decided to jump in there, bar serviette in hand, to recite a poem I called:
He drank until the day he died.
He drank to dull the ache inside.
He smoked until his lungs caved in.
All he ever knew was sin.
After what happened, he just gave in.
After what they did to him…
Dopey fucked a penguin.
Boy. Did that go down well.