the tyranny of so

/ the two letter / scene setter / that shows us you’re getting ready to go / to tell us what we need to know / it’s restrictive / predictive / highly addictive / it’s conversational crack / once you’ve tried it there’s no going back

so… / like in ballet, first position / or a driver sticking the key in the ignition / or a security guard clipping tickets for the exhibition / it’s that little pause of recognition / where you acknowledge what’s been said / and prepare yourself to put us straight instead / a bit like Jesus, with the fishes and the bread / counting heads / checking there’s enough in the basket to see us all fed

so… / it’s that twitchy, glitchy neon sign / you flash from time to time / to show us how magnificently you’re inclined / to put us back on the right line / with such intellectual poise and clarity / it’s a kind of charity / all the worse for over-familiarity / the hell with SO – it’s a worldwide calamity

so… / the verbal tic of the expert in the know / the grudgy old judge at the dog show / who examines your teeth, your tail & your coat / the weight of your balls & the line of your throat / sighs & gives you a clippy little note / then backs up / to give the cup / to the shiny, short-haired pointer / and you applaud the absurdly well appointed pet / the one with the big red one on the rosette / then you pack up / disheartened, disappointed / drag yourself home unanointed

so… / a needle pulling thread / where you loop our doubts through the eye in your head / and we’re smoothly lead / in and out of the warp & weft of the bedspread / & even the most cynical must surely agree / you demonstrate complete mastery / of the cross-conversational mystery / the stitch-up / the catch-up / the delicate design of the debate / something we’re too close-minded & cack-handed to appreciate / I mean, all we see are snags, ties & tangles but you show us badgers, butterflies and brambles / it’s so, so sweet / then you lay us down on the bedspread to sleep

so… / and so / and so really – so what? / is SO really the best you’ve got? / why not stop it / drop it / dive right into the conversation / with no so and no hesitation / or try a substitution / as a diversion / (suggestion: / lobster basque / and yes, before you ask / I know it’s bisque / but at the risk / of sounding dodgy / I just like the idea of a crustacean in lingerie)

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