A Song of Hunger

A Song of Hunger

a song of hunger

Whatever you might say about me, inconsistence has always been one of my most prized virtues. And this is another blurb, by the way. Or possibly just another me-talking-to-you bit. This is rather enjoyable, isn’t it? Anyway, I felt I needed to introduce this post, partly because I have not posted in quite a while- but since there’s not too many of you reading my stuff out there, I figured this would not prompt rioting in the streets (and it didn’t) – and partly because this thing below is quite different from anything I have ever written so far (or am planning to write in the future). It is a poem. I don’t usually write poems, but I thought it would be fun to give it a bash, just once. It is still supposed to be sort of scary though. It is a love story (among other things). Points for recognising the metric form. There’s a Hugh in it, but I am not him. I just happened to need the rhyme. I am none of the guys in this poem. I don’t do autobiographical writing. Which is just as well, given how most of my characters die a thousand painful deaths. Here goes.

*****

I really fail to see what’s to be gained
by telling you all this: the whole affair
is dull and unoriginal and lame
and it will bore you stiff, yet if you care
enough and have an afternoon to spare
I’ll give you an account of what has been,
but if it’s sin you look for, then beware:
this is a story of love untold, unseen.
No other sin but love, I swear, you’ll find therein.
I used to watch her come and watch her go,
while sitting in a cafe, by the lake.
My eyes would feast upon her, to and fro
they swept the park and slithered in her wake.
I held my peace, I felt I could not make
a move to conquer, charm or to enthrall,
and ‘twas for her as well as my own sake
that I’d resolved to crawl back in my hole.
But then she started dating this one bloke called Paul.
Paul was not good for her, that was a fact
All long hair and tattoos and dodgy beard,
he’d had one job – from which he had been sacked –
and well, apart from that, he was just… weird.
She looked so hurt the day he disappeared
without a call, without a last adieu.
But I suspect deep down she knew or feared
he’d always been unfaithful and untrue.
And soon she started seeing this other chap called Hugh.
If Paul was bad, well, Hugh was truly vile.
He’d already been married for a start.
How could she hope to saunter down the aisle
beside a man with such a wanton heart?
It wasn’t long till Hugh too did depart
and then I started thinking that I should
perhaps try and accost her: I was smart,
and caring and affectionate and good
and was prepared to do for her all that I could.
While plucking up the courage to address
the one I longed for, I had to endure
the sight of Bob and Jeremy and Jess
as they would wine and dine her and assure
her of their good intentions and the pure
devotion of their hearts, and always was
their disappearance quick and premature.
And every time she failed to see their flaws
and every time she wept – I thought – for no good cause.
It was a summer day, as I recall,
when – finally! – I rose up from my chair
at the old cafe, feeling shy and small
and walked up to her, ready to declare
my love undying, and offer her my prayer
that one day she in turn might love me, but
she didn’t seem impressed as I laid bare
the feelings from my heart and from my gut.
Ungrateful, callous, cruel, deceiving little slut.
The days went by and I kept at my quest
to show her that my soul was worthy and true.
And day and night, without respite or rest
I told her all I saw and all I knew
of her, the life she led and Paul and Hugh
and all the other men and how her skin
would shame the very dawn with its fine hue.
Yet in her words I heard naught but chagrin
“Hey, who the fuck are you and how did you get in?”
And this is how, fine gentlemen, the chore
– unwelcome I am sure – has been bestowed
upon you to come knocking at my door,
since my good neighbour saw her down the road
and had the impression she was being towed
possibly bound and gagged, into my shed
and by this time I reckon you are owed
an explanation as to why the head
of a young man is lying on cushions on my bed.
I did try to be calm at first, and kind
as I explained to him that he should leave
but some men can be stubborn, you will find,
and what did his pig-headedness achieve?
he left me with no choice but to retrieve
my old meat-cleaver from the second drawer
and hear him squeal as I rolled up my sleeve
and as I raised my arm he would implore
and then his head rolled wet across my kitchen floor.
The other gentlemen, you might have guessed,
proved just as mulish in their own design.
You’ll find what’s left of Hugh inside that chest,
a few hands in the cupboard and a spine
under the bathroom sink. I did confine
the lady to the shed outside, I swear
I meant no harm. But she would wail and whine
and I’m afraid she isn’t… well… “all there”
no more: a good two thirds are in my Frigidaire.
Her liver I ate first, with roasted bread,
cause livers should be eaten fresh. Her eyes
I swirled in onion gravy and even dead
their gaze would warm my soul. I baked in pies
her fingers and her toes. With peas and fries
I sided a hamburger of her butt
– if you will pardon my loose talk. Her thighs
I roasted. The most sacred, precious cut
– her heart – I saved to eat uncooked, unbled, uncut.
So this, my fine young gentlemen in blue,
is, as they say, the long and short of it.
I’m sure that, knowing my troubles, neither you
nor any other mortal could see fit
to place the blame on me and to acquit
the cruel, heartless mistress that would shun
my love. Therefore, I pray, come closer, sit,
lower your guns, I won’t attempt to run.
Let’s share a friendly meal. Fish fingers, anyone?

_______________________________________________________________________________

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