Author: brianbilston

On Leaving the House and Encountering Another Human Being

I’m sorry I dived into the bushes.
It’s not personal, you understand.
You happened to walk in my direction
and my nerves got the upper hand.

I’m sorry I screamed when you came near me.
Don’t take my angry shrieks to heart.
Idiomatically, let’s stay in touch –
and physically, six feet apart.

Apologies if it seems like you repulse me,
that I recoil when you come near.
In other times, we might have spoken,
shared a joke or had a beer,

or waltzed together down the footpath,
perhaps we may yet still one day.
But just for now, embrace the margins
and wave to me from far away.

Comparative Guidance for Social Distancing

Just remember it’s:
The length of a musk ox or fully-grown llama
Three Rubik’s Cubes plus one Keir Starmer
Eleven seven-inch singles by Bananarama
That’s what two metres is.

Alternatively, it’s:
1/ 192,199,930th of a single moon beam
2.2 times greater than Munch’s The Scream
About 10½ packets of custard creams
That’ll be two metres.

If easier, think:
Thirty-three pairs of dragonfly wings
The length of a yoga mat belonging to Sting
Two one-metre long pieces of string
That comes to two metres.

Or failing that, imagine:
0.00000091 of the coast of mainland Wales
18.2648402 cricket bails
One and a quarter Prunella Scales
That’s two metres.

Cat under Lockdown

My cat has been adapting to the lockdown
rather well, it must be said.

She leaves the sofa for very limited purposes,
exercising once a day in the flowerbeds,

never failing to wash her paws
for at least two hours upon her return.

She no longer meets friends or relatives
who do not live in her home,

but contents herself in catching up with them
on Skype or Zoom. Should other cats

intrude on her territory, she’s always careful
to maintain her social hiss stance,

and she deplores the action of her neighbour
who has been stockpiling mice for weeks.

She bears it all with great fortitude
although she knows everything is changed,

and, when the ambulances go by,
they will wake her and she will look at me

as if to say, don’t worry, I’m here,
I have no plans to go anywhere.

Diary of a Somebody – now out in paperback

Here’s a mildly dull, information-based post to let you know that my latest book ‘Diary of a Somebody’ is now out in paperback.

It was shortlisted for the 2019 Costa First Novel Award.

It’s available in all bookshops – and here are links to the book through some of the online booksellers.

Amazon

Blackwell’s

Book Depository

Hive

Waterstones

Wordery

Foyles

Here endeth this boring promotional post.

Roger’s Thesaurus

In order to grow, expand, widen
his lexicological corpus,
Roger bought, acquired, purchased
a synonymopedia, a thesaurus.

Soon, presently, without delay,
he no longer ran out of things to say,
speak, utter, express, articulate,
give voice to, pronounce, communicate.

This was all very well, fine, great,
wonderful, super, terrific
but his friends, mates, pals found him
boring, tedious, dull, soporific.

So let this be a warning,
an omen, a sign, a premonition,
it’s all very well to show learning,
education, knowledge, erudition,

but here’s a top tip, a hint,
a suggestion, some advice,
don’t ever let it stop you
from being concise,

brief, short, clear, pithy,
succinct, compendious, to the point,
compact, snappy, laconic.
Breviloquent.

Today is Thesaurus Day whiich commemorates the birth of Peter Mark Roget, born on this day in 1779 and author of Roget’s Thesaurus.

Diary of a Somebody

Today is Publication Day for my new book, ‘Diary of a Somebody’. I hope you may find it in a bookshop near you; or failing that, an online bookshop near you, such as one of these:

Hive

Waterstones

Amazon

And here are a few nice things that have been said about it so far:

“At last, a genuinely funny comic novel.” The Times

“Brian Bilston turns the base metal of comic verse into gold.” The Guardian

“A brilliant comic novel.” The Spectator

One of the funniest novels for years.Reader’s Digest

Unseen Poem

OK. Turn the page. Right, here goes …
The first line’s straightforward, I suppose.
At least I know what the words all mean.
It has an AA BB rhyming scheme.
 
What’s that French word for when one line
runs into the next? Jambon? Never mind.
Susan Jenkins is smiling, I bet she knows.
Oh great! Now the rhymes have disappeared
 
and the language is getting more obfuscatory
by the stanza. The voice keeps changing.
At first, it was confident. But now it’s confused
uncertain (?) and … hesitant?
 
and as for this bit
what was the poet even thinking?
 
(personally, i think
they must have been drinking)
 
Susan Jenkins needs more paper.
I hate her. There are ten minutes left.
What’s this poem all about anyway?
No idea. I shall just have to guess.
 
I’ll say it’s a metaphor for death.