Tuesday, 17 April 2012

NaPoWriMo Poem Seventeen: An Open Letter to a Hollow Man

Dear Mr Gove, I hope you don't mind me writing.
Today's prompt was to send an epistle
to an inanimate object. I thought of you
(I know, I know - we're not supposed to know,
but some of us have noticed, Mr G.
Your Secretary does a good impression
of that preposterous voice you used to do.
His talent for ventriloquism? That was just dumb luck).

It's fitting you've gone 2D. Not only since it's retro,
when even silver screens aspire to ape
our dance through pliant space. When holograms
of dead rap stars play live at Coachella. You were never
even that real, Mr G: a big hollow man
with a fistful of sham, and a shitty line in titles.
Celsius 7/7? We're lucky, I guess,
that the only writing you'll be known for now
is the price tag sticker on your back
and the Property of Rupert Murdoch
which I guess someone from the NASUWT
has scribbled where your arse should be.

Anyway, my mission for today, as I say,
is to write to an object bereft
of consciousness, indeed, of conscience - you, in other words -
and, furthermore, to proffer both a fact
and some form of fruit. So, first, let me take you back

to 1989, a viaduct in Aberdeen, a young man
fuelled by commie rage and Tennent's,
detourning a piece of the state apparatus
- a traffic cone, to be exact -
forty feet from Union Street
into the path of traffic passing
on the road below, then finding himself
bundled in a police van. Did you call them pigs?

Because that was you, of course, when you were still 3D,
before you sat in committee rooms and labelled teachers Trots
for objecting to your choice of Commisar;
before your flatpack afterlife propped in the office cupboard,
where you rest now, waiting, patient, for the morning
when your underlings will drag you out, unnoticed.
Long time to wait. Would you like a banana?
No - fair point. Nothing to digest it with. No matter.
Tell you what. I'll leave the skin down here.

             *                                 *                                    *

Today's NaPoWriMo prompt was to write an epistolary poem - a poem in the form of a letter - to an inanimate object. Who better to write to, then, than Cardboard Gove, last seen in NaPoWriMo Poem Nine?

There were a number of other things the poem had to include: a song lyric (here taken from 'Big Hollow Man' by Danielle Dax);  an 'oddball adjective-noun combination' (in this case, 'pliant space' - not that oddball, I know); a fruit (the banana); a street name and a measurement of distance ('forty feet from Union Street') and a historical fact - in this case Gove's arrest for chucking a traffic cone off a viaduct in Aberdeen back in 1989. I bet it really annoys him, that people keep bringing that up...

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