me & the 4th horse

I only finished this late last night
says DEATH, stepping up to the mic
it’s a bit rough round the edges. I hope it’s alright
he stands on the stage in his heavy black cloak
a fidgety, rickety kinda bloke
blinking deep in his sockets
fumbling around in his pockets
hold this, he says, handing his scythe
to the MC standing off to the side
who immediately takes a jokey swipe
at the heckler down front who’d been difficult all night
inadvertently and catastrophically
pitching him headfirst into purgatory
(which got the biggest laugh all night, incidentally)
don’t says DEATH, you’ll get me fired
you’re only supposed to do it when the punters have expired
hold still while I sort out my shit
I’ll be with you in a little bit

there’s an awkward silence

not because of the violence
but because we’ve had quite enough
of poets who don’t know their stuff
and say they’ve only just written the thing
because really what they’re saying
– the subtle psychological game they’re playing –
is… if you DON’T like it – well – I wrote it on the fly
but if you DO – think how much better it’ll be when I TRY

anyway – back to DEATH
who’s found his notes and taking a breath
casting his doomy countenance
around the audience
with a wide, dry and lipless grin
forty percent dentures, sixty percent chin

oh-kaaaaaay he says, awkwardly waving his notes
hope you like it (phalangeal air quotes)

but I have to admit I kinda zone out
when I get the gist of what it’s about
(a lot of hokey sturm und drang
the meaning of life….yaddah yaddah…. klang)
and I start to worry about his ride
the bloodless nag with the blazing eyes
tied up to a lamppost outside
that’s no place for a horse of the apocalypse
– so I sneak out and buy it some fish and chips
and yeah – I know – I shoulda got hay
but it was late and I just didn’t fancy it – OK?

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