Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011


by Michael Barrett

This house is a schizo, right. Every room
a different colour, a different year. It’s a fancy-
dress-party for walls. Dad likes to think
he’s a do-a-job-well sort, but he’s a bodger
at heart; a face-painter tickling the golden-
gate-bridge. Why doesn’t he just hire professionals
to do the whole house and bloody well live in it.
I backcomb the carpet on each stair with the hoover-
nozzle to make him think I’ve done a thorough
job & get something in my eye at the thought of
England’s wasted time. The steady hum of the
middle-middle-class grows dense in my ear;
the thick-skinned wallpaper forms droopy
noses that sniffle in the light. I feel sorry for a
dusty houseplant, use an apologetic thumb
to wipe, and notice it’s not even real.

Added: 22.02.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


Interesting use of line break, which could sometimes be used more effectively. I especially like the last bit about the plant being fake.