Month: August 2014

A Most Average Man

No one was more average than Stan.
He was a most average man.

He had the average number of brothers
And the average number of wives,
He came from the average number of mothers
And he’d lived the average number of lives.

He owned the average number of houses
And the average number of cars
He’d killed an average number of mouses,
Had fights in the average number of bars.

He’d slept the average number of hours,
Worn the average number of flares,
He’d had the average number of showers
To cover up his average number of affairs.

He’d committed the average number of murders,
Swatted the average number of flies,
Eaten the average number of burgers
Accompanied by the average number of fries.

He had the average number of fingers
In the average number of pies,
Faced the average number of out-swingers
And played the average number of off-drives.

He’d swum the average number of lengths
In the average number of pools,
And each average April the first, he’d fall
Victim to the average number of fools.

He’d collected the average number of giros
And drunk the average number of jeroboams,
Bought and mislaid the average number of biros
To write the average number of average poems.

No one was more average than Stan,
He was a most average man.
The meanest of the mean.
The most medium of the median.
A modish master of mediocrity.

He was very unique in that respect.

Jewel

I can picture the exact moment
That we began to grow apart.
The usual Thursday wallow-around
(Kick-about being too lofty a term),
The mistimed challenge, the boot
Jack-knifed down upon my own,
The mumbled apology,
And the game continuing around us.
Later, back in the dressing room,
I looked for signs of damage
And although you looked no different,
I knew that you were.

That night in bed, to prove me right,
Your transformation, as subtle
As a reading lamp, began.
It was an unremarkable beginning.
A blanched greyness spread
Across the nail, like a bland surprise,
As if the blundering ghost of that tackle
Had come back to haunt you.

In the days that followed
Your true colours began to shine through,
Angry reds and bruised purples
Competed with each other
Before settling down in an uneasy truce.
I would rush home every evening,
Shoes and socks strewn across the hallway,
And inspect you, not merely to wonder
At what new hue you had turned into
(No-one do the new hue like you do)
But also to run my fingers over
The contours of your newly-formed ridges,
As brittle as life itself.

They were bittersweet times
As a gallows humour crept into our lives
(Hey, toe, what’s your favourite kind of solvent?
It must be No Need For Nails!
)
And all the while, the nascent nail
Growing and pushing, pushing and growing,
Undermining, overwhelming,
And toe’s company, three’s a crowd.

Our parting when it came, though,
Came suddenly. The sun shining down,
A foot raised up from the sea,
And there the usurper but not the usurped,
Presumably washed away in the surf.

I still dream about you sometimes:
A beach-combing boy, looking for treasure
Amongst the pebbles and shells,
His eye caught by an unexpected gleam
In the sand, and something both
Splendid and mysterious is gathered up
For his collection: an Ionian jewel.