There are too many poets called Tom.

And here’s a poem about one, or possibly all of them!

Poem (Tom)

Chisel-chinned trendy wordsmith
All teeth and tan and hair
That looks like it could be easily quiffable
So young and clean he’s probably easily sniffable
Thou hipster Ginsberg with a
Conscience so hot it can
Warm the coldest day with the
Fires of righteousness,
Whose words ooze sensibility,
How pained his outlook, this
Zeitgeist-bending Twitter-trending
Hot young thing, this
New kid on the writer’s block, this
Prototype Byron with exuberant facial expressions
This slam-winning rhyme-spinning nonchalant
Thin thin slip of a lad with a gob that spews
Perfect indignation in just the right amounts
With controlled anger
And lots of dramatic

Pauses.

Oh god, I wish he was me.

I wish I could be him, I wish me and him
We’re mutually interchangeable,
He’s so brilliant, like the brightest object
In the known galaxy, a supernova,
A thousand fires of phosphorus force
Brilliant at what he does,
Brilliant at capturing souls
Brilliant at poetry
I bet he’s brilliant at everything
I bet he’s never lost a game of Buckaroo.

He’s brilliant and sexy and worthy and oh so right
And sexy and coolly infused into the very now
And sexy and young with the most perfect skin
That he should merely stand at the mic and open
His mouth and utter two syllables for me to become as blustered
As a Victorian gentleman whose just
Caught his first glimpse of ankle.

And I want to speak to him, I want to commune with him,
I want to tell him: good stuff, man,
You’ve opened my mind to new possibilities
And then trampled on it with your youthfulness,
In your trendy converse all stars with no socks,
As you lift the night completely to the very pinnacle
Of absolute truth
And by turns reminded me that my own youthfulness
Is now as relevant and erroneous
As turning up at an otter convention
With a stoat.

Oh, this slippy hippy snake-like lad,
All very subtle and very emotey
If you didn’t know any better
You’d think him a bit scrotey,
So slight and wild in the night,
Afire with the rhythms of poets past,
I want to speak to him
Whisper so subtly into his ear,
Blow me,
Blow me away with your words.
I love your body
I love your body
I love you body
Of work.

And at the break, people are talking,
Eulogising, rhapsodising
And it’s all about him, oh,
For he’s so intense and righteous and theatrical
And oh,
He’s so vibrant and ravishing and clever
And oh,
He’s so visionary and brash and emotional
And oh,
Not only that but he’s got the kind of forearms
That could easily operate a butter churn with
Hardly any trouble at all,
(This gig being in an arts centre in Dorset,
Where butter churns are obviously still a thing).

I follow him,
Through this crowd of admirers and acolytes
Tiptoeing on the periphery
Of a youthful mini mob
Suddenly aware that I’m the only one there
Who remembers the millennium
Or tamagotchis
Or the 1984 Olympics,

He makes a break for the bogs,
And now we’re at neighbouring urinals,
The Fluorescent tubes of this magical wazza
Gently caressing the soft hairs of his delicate chin,
His eyes scanning the blank tiled wall,
His sensitive nostrils
Taking in the pungent earthy aromas
In a venue where the Patrons are mostly
Vegetarian and as such
Relish the most intriguing bowel movements.
(As for myself, I’ve never
Had much of a sense of hummus).

His eyes almost feral and yet
With deep intelligence
As he concentrates in the matter at hand
With the same kind of intensity
He demonstrates at the Mic,
His pee stream strong,
And healthy, and forceful,
It sounds like the Trevi Fountain
And certainly just as aesthetically pleasing.
He doesn’t even fart.
Is there anything
He’s not good at?

And I want to tell him
That I loved his poems.
All of his poems.
His poem about oxygen
Was such a breath of fresh air,
His poem about raspberries
Was surprisingly bitter,
His poem about the Mona Lisa
Was a masterpiece,
His poem about the perfect serve in tennis,
I couldn’t fault it,
His poem about being woken by the smoke alarm,
Such an eye opener,
And I want to tell him
That I got the joke he put in
About de ja vue,
Even though I’d heard it before

And I want to tell him
That he’s changed the way I look at the world.
And I want to tell him
That he speaks with a clarity of conscience so concise
He makes the Dalai Lama look like a mardy
Self-centred premiership footballer,
And I want to tell him
That his voice is so silky smooth,
Listening to him is just like
Nuzzling a mallard
And I want to tell him
That I’d pay him thirty quid and a packet of Frazzles
For just a very brief snog
And I want to tell him
That his skinny jeans really
Leave nothing to the imagination.

And I want to tell him
That his work evokes such feelings within,
Destiny and timelessness,
The sheer manic dance of life,
Magic in the mundane,
A pounding euphoric oneness
That weaves us all into that
Inescapable yet brilliant tapestry of life,
This is what I want to tell him,
But instead I stare at his nob.

We wash our hands at the sink
And as I wait for the hand dryer
Which has all the power of
A gnats fart,
I say

Hey, good set,
And he says,
Cheers

Author: Robert Garnham

Performance and spoken word artist.

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