the grim reader

he appeared to me
on Sunday
THE GRIM READER!
just as I was trying to complete a
particularly ghastly thread
on Twitter as I lay in bed
shit I said
he shook his head
why? expecting someone else instead?
I shrugged
as I coyly tugged
the duvet to my chest
why – no, I guess…

he was wearing a cloak
wildly bespoke
the kinda thing you’d wear for a joke
just a big black sheet
lotsa bulging pockets and pleats
stuffed with photos, notes, receipts
sharp one liners, smart critiques
cartoons, gifs
gothic posters, manga strips
a million 3 minute video clips
of snakes v pigeons
an animated Charles Dickens
made of sinister vegetables
a spider in spectacles
a pulsing line of hatching cocoons
an old man eating prunes
for the first time
cooking with edamame
surviving a tsunami
a politician doorstepped
a mouse getting the floor swept
with a screaming flamingo
seventeen submarines firing in syncro
the explanation of a syndrome
a rusty ol’ Citroen
a flock of drones
in V formation flying home
and so on
and on
row upon row
of audiovisual overload

THE GRIM READER’S face
was an interesting case
of terminal distraction
the kinda face you might wanna caption:
LOL SAME
hashtag notinmyname
his eyes moving incessantly
worryingly independently
quite reptilian
like a chameleon
shifty & machiavellian
and his skin was sallow
the kinda fellow
you might wanna give vit D
and take away on holiday
to the mountains or the sea
so he could live a few weeks healthily

it’s time he said
but I’ve only just gone to bed
no he said
shaking his head
(he did that a lot;
the only expression of frustration he’d got)
IT’S TIME!
accompanied by the kinda mime
you REALLY don’t wanna see
at anytime, let alone half past three
in the morning
obvs a warning
I mean – GRIM by name, GRIM by nature
a superi-serious kinda player
no doubt a visit from the HAPPY reader
woulda been a whole other prospect
so anyway what’s next
I said
bravely sitting up in bed

he raised a bony digit
I put down my phone & started to fidget

COME WITH ME NOW! he boomed
and straightaway uploaded me outta the room
and that’s where I’m Tweeting from right this minute
but that’s what you get for doom scrolling, innit

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