Brian Bilston’s World Cup Poetry Sticker Album

POEM FOR BRAZIL

Neymar
Do your hopes live on.
Like Julio Cesar,
You came,
But did not soar
Or conquer.

I offer
Maicon dolences.

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Brenda

Brenda
Was a World Cup
Uncomprehender,
Could not understand
Roy’s four-week long
Bender.

Brenda
Had no interest
In Walter Zenga
Or the thigh strain
Of a Ghanaian
Defender.

Brenda
Was tired of the way
She’d pretend her
Marriage wasn’t mashed
Like a frog in a
Blender.

Brenda
Thought the chance
Of happiness slender
Whilst Roy continued
His World Cup
Agenda.

Brenda
Would listen to
Love Me Tender
And hoped Roy might be
Returned to
Sender.

Hand of God

We cried blue murder at the time.
It was a crime against humanity,
Not an act of spontaneity
From the digits of a deity.

Still, the next week, each lunchtime,
We were all doing it.
Any aerial challenge became
An opportunity for divine intervention,
With an asphalt Ascension
Into a playground pantheon
Of class-war champions
Beckoning for anyone who could
Pull off a palm of providence
With confidence.

And although our clumsy
Sleights of hand were always exposed,
Like a bungled party trick,
It didn’t stop us from trying
To create artistry out of artifice.

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The Bob Delusion

Every quadrennial
Bob bought a sticker album
In the hope of
Finding himself
Within its pages
And fulfilling an ambition
He’d held for ages
Of playing in the World Cup
Final stages.

Even upon reaching
The age of ninety-three
He would still
Get agitated
For this was a dream
Never abrogated
Despite the fact
He’d had both legs
Amputated.

Bob was something of an optimist.

Grilled Panini

After a bottle of gin
And a bottle of rum
You put my World Cup 78 album
Under the grill
And did it ill
Before passarelling out
On the carpet.

Both the Argentine squad section
And you
Were beyond redemption.
(You: non compos mentis.
Me: sine Mario Kempes)

Never mix liquors
And football stickers.

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