I wrote this on a garage forecourt after something I’d heard in a pub the night before. It made me really quite peeved, considering.
I’d been listening to Murray Lachlan Young (who in one of those Suffolk things you get around here I’ve never met but is marrying the daughter of someone I know) but it’s possible this owes rather more to Pam Eyres than I’d really like to admit to. John Betjeman if he was born 50 years later maybe. I’d be happy with that.
The person who probably did more to get me writing again than anyone phoned me up last night, out of the blue.
‘I’ve seen your poetry on Facebook.’
Oh, I said. Did you like it?
‘It’s shite. You know that anyway.’
Well, it’s not exactly Shakespeare, I agree. I think they call it tough love. Or something. So without further ado, a not-at-all passive aggressive everyday story of middle-class country folk. Again.
Please Don’t Slag Me Off To Your Cleaner
If you cut me do I not bleed?
If you bleed me do I not cry?
If you hurt me do I not write poetry?
What did you think I would do?
Make something on my iPhone
And upload it to YouTube?
At my age? And anyway it’s all
As we tacitly agreed
Except I’m hearing stuff
Coming back about me.
So I don’t think writing poetry
Is really any meaner than you
Bitching on about me to your cleaner
And yes, I heard about that too.
I went to the pub you used to go to;
The one you won’t visit now in case I’m there
And had a chat with people you didn’t know I knew
You see? So if you’re going public
It’ll get back to me and I thought we’d agreed
That wasn’t the way it was going to be.
That isn’t the sort of thing
People like us do, me and you.
So I want you to listen to this, please:
While I say look, I don’t understand,
Let alone really know why it ended
But then, I’m a man,
But we made an agreement;
What we’d said that night was true;
Or I meant what I said.
I’m not sure about you, these days.
So you can moan about me:
I’m not stitching-up you.
And anyway it was only that one time
On the stairs. She was cleaning the shower
I was taking some air and I’d really forgotten
There was anyone there.
I mean really it wasn’t even a misdemeanour,
So please don’t keep slagging me off to your cleaner.
And I’ve only seen her once or twice since then anyway.
She’d been doing your shower.
I’d been washing my hair.
There really wasn’t anything happening there
And despite what you thought I wasn’t there for the scenery
So please don’t keep going on about me to your cleaner.
It’s not as if we were doing anything obscene
Or anything. Really.
And obviously I fully realise
That pretty soon now it’s all going to polarise,
Time to start dripping selected juicy lies,
The friends of the groom and the friends of the bride,
We’re all choosing weapons so pick your side now
Between ‘What a bastard!’ and ‘Stupid cow!’
But I can remember when our grass was greener
So please, please, don’t slag me off to your cleaner.
(c) Carl Bennett 2014
And no, of course I didn’t feel up someone’s cleaner while I was staying at their house. It’s just a poem. Sort of.