MAG Poetry Competition 2011 – Shortlisted Poem

House Hunt

by Marianne MacRae

I’d like a large back garden and a river, with a waterfall if it’s plausible. And there should probably be a doorway to a magical realm, but don’t tell me if there is, I’d like to discover it on my own.
 
I’m a big fan of wrestling so all the better if the place was previously owned by Hulk Hogan. He was my favourite. I know, I know, everybody loves Hogan, but that’s because he’s accessible and he has a great moustache, which is something I think almost all people wish they could grow at some point in their lives.
 
I need somewhere for my tropical fish; not too light, not too dark, not too dry, not too shark infested. I recently had a dream that a great white got into the tank, so now I’m paranoid. Some people will flush anything down the toilet these days and then innocent bystanders like me end up with a living room full of fish guts. It’s just not something I’m willing to deal with.
 
The front door has to be green. It has to. And it has to be the exact green of the door to my childhood home, but it mustn’t be my childhood home, obviously. I want the door to have five locks. Each key should be buried on a different continent and I should be given clues to try and find them. We should work hard to get what we really want.
 
I’d like to be close to the city so I have something to complain about, and I’d like to be close to the country so there’s a chance I might be murdered.
 
There ought to be a scent of apples. Not fresh apples; apples that are just about to start rotting, but they shouldn’t have actually begun to rot. I want the kind of scent that goes with honey sunlight streaming through a bay window into the nursery. Oh, and the nursery should be long empty, with the dust covered toys the only reminder of the children that have long since flown the nest and forgotten about their ageing, middle-class mother who always made it seem as though she didn’t love them. You know, the kind of scene that will drive me to drink spirits before lunch time.
 
There’ll need to be off-street parking and on-street parking, though I don’t want to live near any roads. I want to have to trek for three miles across swirling grasslands and treacherous moors to reach my home every night. I want to risk catching pneumonic pleurisy and perhaps see a ghost.
 

Added: 18.03.2011

Judges' comments on this poem

13.05.2011

fantastic - slyly meaningful satire on human nature!; wonderful monologue never wavers - exactly imaged; could read it all day!

19.05.2011

This is a really interesting poem. Odd line-breaks and the beginning didn't draw me in, but some wonderful images and turns of phrase.

08.06.2011

I liked this prose poem for its depiction of the impossibility of finding a perfect place, am ideal life.

08.06.2011

Really great piece of prose... but that's the problem: it's prose in a poetry competition. Otherwise, beautiful descriptions, funny, etc.

08.06.2011

This is one of the most beautiful poems I've ever read, by anyone.

08.06.2011

how did this get thru - it simply isn't a poem...

08.06.2011

Sorry, but, though nice, to me this is not a poem.

08.06.2011

Voted for this in an earlier round. Made it to the final 12. Must be good, huh?

09.06.2011

This is entertaining and thought-provoking but is it really poetry?

09.06.2011

Brave in form and innovative in content this was interesting, but it lacked musicality and there was not a sense of ending.

09.06.2011

Very much liked the quirky, surreal humour and conversational, throw-away tone. Conquered my prejudice against prose poems to the extent tha

10.06.2011

Quirky and fun- kept me intrigued all through- close!

10.06.2011

The ending seems abrupt, but the poem flows wonderfully and there is a clear sense of authorial voice.

10.06.2011

I read this poem and ended up grinning because I fully get it. I'd love this house. And I DO love a moustache.

10.06.2011

Hard to read this as poetry when it looks like prose. Sorry!

11.06.2011

A Goldilocks poem: not too hot, not too cold; but the voice is not tepid!

13.06.2011

I really really enjoyed this, although I didn't rate it higher as I think it ended a bit abruptly as if there was more to say.

13.06.2011

wonderful voice/personality - brilliant satire of our daft prejudices - not a wasted word; every image fascinating, intriguing - lovely!

14.06.2011

Wonderful voice. Are you an estate agent?! Loved the way you range over landscapes of fantasy and story to reach your ideal home.

14.06.2011

The sort of poem that makes you want to meet the poet! Strange thoughts but somehow recognisable.

17.06.2011

Wordsy. But credit for loosing element missing from most poems judged:Humor. Humor buoys the heart human:too many sink into themselves away.

17.06.2011

I love the earnest expression in this poem , perfectly pitched..

18.06.2011

Enjoyed this. Wry humour; something different; original voice; amusing literary/cultural refs. Great! So in my last top 4.

18.06.2011

after a couple of readings I got the feel of it. a warm, strange poem.

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