Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

They laughed when it all went wrong

by Victoria Rose Poolman

Huh huh huh spoon jar, jar spoon,
Gruff big fella donned the waiter’s fez
To replace a lost prop
Magic in his blood, they said
The best way to prevent rice sticking
Is to cook each grain separately
And when he performed
They laughed when it all went wrong, see,
The rabbit stayed in its hat, the cloak ripped,
The King of Hearts came unstuck,
Wide open mouths and gleaming faces roared:
Clue revealed.
Dulling the anxiety with gin and dry ice from a cigarette,
Offering a taxi driver a drink and slipping him a tea bag,
All part of the act; not like that, like that!
My friend drowned in a bowl of museli,
He was pulled in by a strong currant
Big open smile, he scratches,
Itchy tooth, he says, huh huh huh
And his wife, lovely woman she was
He threw things and she threw things
But they’d end up laughing
And when he beat her, she could not leave him
And when his heart stopped for a moment, she was the one to start it again
For her, he put down his whisky and stubbed the burning embers
I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day
But couldn’t find any
She sent him off with a flask of coffee
And a sandwich, and went to watch, so she did
As he passed milk pails and ladders and poles from his magic cloak
Huh huh huh, why was six scared of seven?
Because seven ate nine
Tears rolled down the faces of Her Majesty’s men
And he crumpled, and they laughed,
Wicked sense of humour, they cackled
When he began to snore, new voices hooted
He fell backwards, uproarious cheer
Then still,
And fear fell like a curtain.
Hands came through and wrapped about the silent giant
And he was gone,
Just like that.

Added: 27.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


Needs some respite in the form - splitting into stanzas, perhaps.