Oxford

Letter Received regarding my Application for the Position of Oxford Professor of Poetry

Dear Brian,

Thank you for applyin’.

I hope you don’t find this distressful
but on this occasion you have been unsuccessful.

We found your poetry
unsatisfactory to the nth degree,
a cross between a dog’s dinner and a catastrophe.
In fact, the kind of drivelling doggerel
one might find inscribed
on a cheap sheet of bog roll.

Your limericks are limited,
haikus quite hopeless,
your sonnets have as much class
as soap-on-ropeness.
Oh, and your ballads are bollocks.

We wish that you suffered from more writer’s blocks.

Your verse is about buses and tank tops and socks;
you think you’re profound but you’re more like pro-lost.

And as for your poems about Clarkson
they’re bordering on the litigious.

On the plus side,
your spelling’s quite good
and your output prodigious.

Yours sincerely,

Professor A.P. Brearley

The Occidental Tourist

A mistimed side-step and I was in amongst the cagoules,
clipboards and backpacks, too late to back-track,
too hubristic to hack my way through the touristic horde

which tsunamies me around two Oxford colleges,
the Bodleian and the Radcliffe Camera, pitches me
in and out the Pitt-Rivers before we wattle and daub

our way to Stratford-upon-Avon for much ado about
bardic-related birthplaces and Monday-matinéed monologues,
striking north to viking lands of here be minsters and

castles and dungeons and museums and botanical
gardens and monuments and Edinburgh cobbled passageways
and walking tours and bus tours and ghost tours and

coach rides and airports and aeroplanes and twelve-hour
flights and unfamiliar landscapes and customs and I end up
spending the next twenty years of my life as a rice farmer

in the Ishikari Subprefecture of Hokkaido in Japan.