Today’s the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo… and the prompt was to follow the ‘twenty little poetry projects’ prompt – twenty things you had to include in your poem, much like the New York School Poets prompt. You can read them here. And here’s what I came up with!
The day’s a doormat, thick with dirt.
Come in; I can smell the rain on you,
smells like Pelham Bridge rain, Foss Dyke rain.
Put your shoes to the side – I’ve put crisps
in little bowls for you. I rustle them.
Can you hear the salt and vinegar?
I’ve lit a sleazy candle for you. Let me take your coat.
Jake’s upstairs, following a recipe
with a pen, I’ll call him if you like, strike a gong
with a ladle and yodel a bit if you like.
You know, I’ve heard that sofas like these
have healing properties when the cushions
are aligned in the perfect way, so make yourself
at home here. I’ll put the kettle on.
(‘You will not,’ says kettle – the gobshit
always answers back to us here.)
Anyway, I can talk over the white steam
of welcome. Where were we – the haunted house?
That toilet is always screaming, you know;
one day it will swallow us all whole and pulp us
until we’re the water in the cistern.
Ignore Jeremy Kyle on the TV, we can turn him off,
look, there we go. Now it’s just you and me
and him upstairs, scribbling. I’ll stir your tea
three times so he can’t hear us. Isn’t it gorgeous
out there? I bet you wish it would rain soon;
des pommes de terre haven’t ever been so thirsty.
I goad them with apple juice in a watering can
but nothing happens because the green in the
plastic makes the thing look like some alien-
elephant hybrid, you know?
I’ll close these curtains, look, I’ll sit next to you
and just quickly wash my keys in your stomach.
Right. Look at me in the eyes, then mouth.
It tastes like sour cigarettes in there. Tongue
feels like sandpaper, you know. Don’t worry,
he can’t hear us, I told you, and now I see
the needles at your jaw are dirty, hanging
from precipices like a hedgehog’s back, a
doormat thick with something old, the welcome
sign all trodden over, no welcome left,
no welcome left in that face you’ve been given.