In today’s podcast, Robert is still walking in the woods. He ponders on a scummy pond, a glimpse of London through the trees, and reads a poem about Icarus.
Robert Garnham goes for a walk in the woods, reminisces about magpies, and reads a poem about the summer solstice and a petrol station.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been making videos of some of the short poems that I’ve been writing. Usually little more than a minute long, they give me a chance to have a little fun! I hope you like them.
I’ve spent the last few weeks making videos of short poems intending to release one a day. But then I thought, why not release the whole lot at once?
So here they are! I hope you like them.
Here’s a new poem for you.
Well, I did my annual New Year’s Day special yesterday, from the environs of the room at the back of my mothers garage, as I am staying in Brixham for the new year period. Here it is in all its whimsical glory, I hope you enjoy it!
If you like what I’m doing, feel free to support me right here:
So today I performed my annual New Year’s Day poetry extravaganza. And as I’m staying in Brixham at the Muv’s, this took place in the room at the back of her garage where I normally rehearse, a place I have nicknamed the ‘Sunrise Rehearsal Studio’. I can make as much noise as I like in there and nobody can hear me, because the room is not attached to or near any other building.
The day before, I’d kind of made a New Year’s Resolution, which had two parts to it. The first is to concentrate more on comedy poetry, the second is to have fun performing. The first part of this resolution has come about because I feel that, over the last couple of years and especially since lockdown and the pandemic, I have spent most of my time doing things other than comedy poetry. And yes, while it’s great to experiment and try other things, I was just kidding myself that any of these were worth unleashing on an audience. Serious poems, serious pieces of writing, various artworks and ideas which had at least taken me out of my comfort zone, were the speciality of proper artists and proper poets who have made a career out of such a manner of expression. The one thing I’m good at, hopefully, and known for, is making people laugh through poetry and performance. And I hadn’t done nearly enough of this since the end of 2019.
The second part of the resolution is to have fun performing. I know this sounds a bit weird, what with my performance being very silly, comedic and clowning, but I’d spent far too much time concentrating on performance and theory and effect and not nearly enough on enjoying the process.
So today’s gig in the Sunrise Rehearsal Studio allowed me to have fun in the silliness of what I was doing and, hopefully, in such a way, connect with the audience. And once I’d made this pact with myself to enjoy what I was doing, well, wouldn’t you know, I started to really enjoy what I was doing!
2022 is here, now. And I have no idea where it will go or what will happen. I have a couple of projects on the go which might lead to something wonderful, or then again, they might not. But I’m determined that I shall have lots of fun along the way. I hope to see you out there in poetry land, too.
Happy new year to everyone, and here’s to a better future!
So this poem, amazingly, is based kn a true story. I’ve changed his name. Because he might read this!
Land of the free.
Stars ‘n’ stripes,
And it’s so amazing,
They’ve even got McDonalds there.
But I tell you
What they haven’t got.
Cheese and pickle sandwiches.
And forever there shall remain
A chasm as deep as the Grand Canyon.
My friend Brody,
All American boy raised on
Baseball and NASCAR,
Country music and out of town malls,
And fishing down at the old creek
With Emmy Lou,
Weirdly infatuated with
Texted me one day
The question that was burning within.
What’s a cheese and pickle sandwich?
One moonlit night in small town America,
In the midst of apple pie baking,
Pick up trucks and 7-11s,
Did his postman deliver a jar of
Imported English pickle, and Brody,
Ever keen to sample exotic foodstuffs
In the glare of diner neon and freeway streetlights,
The roar of pick ups and duck hunts,
Concoct a delicacy so rare as to make
The Angels whimper.
I asked him afterwards
What he had thought.
And he replied
That he melted inside,
His taste buds had come alive,
He almost cried
For the years he’d existed without
Cheese and pickle sandwiches.
The air seemed more pure,
Colours more vivid,
Senses heightened and he was overtaken
With an inner peace
So utterly consuming,
He said he felt a strange compulsion
To grin at a squirrel.
Imbued with hope he skimmed above
America made sense.
The love of Kermit for Miss Piggy.
The intricate rules of the rodeo
And most of the Twilight saga.
A lump of processed cheese.
A spread of pickle sublime.
Two slabs of supermarket granary
Lifted him above the humdrum.
Oh! It was like a gastronomic slap in the face.
Oh! It was like a religious awakening.
Oh! It was a cruise control on a turnpike
(Because I definitely know what both of those mean),
Because they Lord of the Snack had sung
And the words which oozed forth
Into the ears of this small town boy were,
‘Go on, make yourself another cheese and pickle sandwich’.
And he opened the screen door.
And he sat on the stoop,
Filled with righteous fervour,
That he should lift up
This cheese and pickle sandwich
As an offering to God on high,
All hail the cheese and pickle sandwich!
All hail its mighty goodness!
And he howled at the night
Like a cowboy,
So you liked it?, I asked.
Sure, he replied, it was swell.
What do you think I should
And I suggested
Today’s Advent Calendar picture is of Beryl Reid eating a wagon wheel. An actual wagon wheel.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture is of the crank handle of an old jalopy.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture is of Samuel Beckett breakdancing in the cafe at a garden centre next to the narcissi.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture is apppatently an advert for Dreadnought Sheep Dip.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a monk trying to feed a jacket to a horse.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows a small field just outside of Norwich and some of the adjacent lay-by.
Today’s advent calendar picture shows Skippy the Kangaroo waiting for an exhaust manifold to be fitted to his Ford Capri. One of the mechanics is Liam Gallagher. It’s raining. The Irn Bru drinks machine has an Out of Order notice on it written in calligraphy. The man in the office behind a glass window is sad because nobody appreciates his calligraphy.
Today’s advent calendar picture shows kylie Minogue as reimagined in Fuzzy Felt
Today’s Advent Calendar picture is of Inspector Poirot looking for a pair of scissors to open the packaging that his newly bought pair of scissors have come in.
Today’s advent calendar is a picture of a colander. It’s an advent colander.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture is very minimalist and shows a penguin at the South Pole looking very quizzically at a harp.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows the starboard spark plugs of a coal barge.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows the Easter bunny.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows a duck behind the wheel of a 1986 Opel Manta being stopped by a policeman who happens to be a ferret, whose pointing at a speed limit sign which says 30mph, while a badger walks past pushing a prom inside of which is a lobster baby, while the other side of the road there’s a kangaroo which, inexplicably, is walking a dog.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows a selection of different pasta shapes laid out in size order next to a Philips screwdriver, presumably for scale.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows the bearded captain of the bulk carrier MSC Mercury Thora Hird on the bridge behind the wheel, but he’s vogueing, Madonna style, while his First Mate captures the whole thing on his mobile phone, as the other crew on the bridge clap and cheer. They’re obviously intending to upload it to Tiktok.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows an exasperated theatre director shouting at an ostrich through a megaphone on a theatre stage. Muscles are bulging in his neck. The ostrich has fluffed another line in the big monologue and will have to start again. The ostrich can barely hide its contempt. The play they are rehearsing is called Up My Left Trouser Leg.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows an advent calendar.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows a moment of hilarity on the novelty farting gnome production line. Doris has put one of them on her head and is doing a silly little dance to Cher’s Believe, everyone’s laughing, though she doesn’t realise that her supervisor is standing right behind her. This is the third time she’s done such a thing in the last week. The manufacture of novelty farting gnomes is a serious business, doesn’t she understand? And why is it necessary to add the word ‘novelty’?
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows the Three Wise Men having stopped off to buy scratch cards , are leaning on a post box and furiously scratching them with 10p coins.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows an argument at the crunch nut corn flake production line because the manager has sped up the conveyor belt and they’ve obviously started falling off on to the floor, there are boxes everywhere, tempers are fraying, arms raised, red faces, bulging veins in necks, and nobody has noticed that a lion has just sauntered in through the door.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows a runaway flat bed truck with about fifty standard lamps balanced on the back making its way driverless through the giraffe enclosure at a safari park. The giraffes are curious, of course, and somewhat envious of these long necked mechanical objects. Maud from the adjacent tea hut looks up from her urn, she’s pointing to the large net that she’s kept just for a situation like this.
Today’s Advent Calendar picture shows Yogi Bear lying flat on his face with a tranquilliser dart stuck in his rump, in the meat aisle at Morrison’s. He’s riffled the chiller cabinet and made a hell of a mess.