Poem (after Frank O’Hara)
‘Why I am not a painter / decorator’
I am not a painter / decorator, I am a performance poet.
Why? I think I’d rather be a painter / decorator,
But I am not. Well,
For instance, Jim Shufflebottom
Is doing some skirting boards. I drop in.
‘Help yourself to a cuppa’, he says.
I drink, we drink. I look up.
‘You’ve dribbled some paint on the Lino’.
‘Yes, I’ll clear it up in a minute’.
‘Oh’. I go, and the days go by,
And I drop in again. He’s still doing the
Skirting boards, and I go, and the days go
By. I drop in. The skirting boards are
Finished. ‘Where’s the bit where you dribbled
On the Lino?’ ‘I used sanding paper and
White spirit and removed it’, Jim says.
But me? One day I am thinking of
An animal. A dromedary. I write a
Performance poem about dromedaries. Pretty
Soon it’s a three minute slam poem, and then a
Five minute piece. There should be
So much more to it, not of dromedaries,
Of hats, of how terrible dromedaries are,
And badgers. Days go by. I learn it by heart.
I am a real performance poet. My poem is finished
And I haven’t mentioned dromedaries yet.
It’s twelve minutes, I call it ‘Poem’.
And one day I see Jim and he’s
Doing some plastering and he’s dribbled
Some on the Lino.