Reluctant Father

I am the reluctant father of countless poems,
far too many for me to remember them all,
far too many for me to care about them all.
I take perverse pleasure in embarrassing my offspring
by telling people that a lot of them were conceived
on public transport, where
in spite of the earliness of the hour
I would groan, grimace and sweat,
suggestively chewing on an old biro.
Fellow commuters would look away embarrassed
whispering to each other that this sort of thing
was better done at home behind closed doors.
Good job they didn’t know that
I bought a lot of my kids up in pubs.
scoffing scratchings while they cried and puked,
ignoring their clamouring for my attention while I necked gin,
leaving them in ashtrays or under tables
while I staggered home alone.
I’d sometimes force my poetry children
to compete against each other
in popularity contests on social media.
No likes for you means into the shredder you go,
victory means the winner fights again,
the Hunger Games of poetry, until exhausted
a new popular child grinds the losers face into the dirt,
while I smile.

I bound my family in paper and ink chains
behind a glossy cover of lies.
Then left them on a bus
embarrassed to be seen with them in public.

Me and my Crow

I once heard a poet say
that they had a kingfisher
beating inside their chest.
And those words intrigued me,
I wanted to discover
what beat within me.

So I carefully peeled back my skin
then peered into the cage beneath.
And that’s where I met
my Crow.

This wasn’t some midnight black
skull perching supernatural guide
and giver of sage advice.
Instead there roosted
a mangy feathered
crooked beaked
one eyed

I asked it. “What are you doing in my chest?”
Its milky eye struggled to meet mine
then swaying a little
it opened it beak and burped.

I said. “Crow, are you drunk?
This is supposed to be a philosophical poem
and you are useless.
I bet Neil Gaiman
never has this kind of trouble.

The Crow burped again
then said. “You ask too much.”

“Oh you do talk. “I said.
” Answer me this, I’m confused.
I dissected myself
expecting to find beauty.
Yes before you say anything
I am an optimist.
But instead I found you,
my Crow.

“Tough.” Said the Crow.
“But seriously
what did you expect?
Anyway sit down
I’ve got a lot to tell you
and we have so little time.

Afterward I  sewed my chest back up
with lies and swore
never to let my Crow out again.
Unless I need to hear
everything about me
that I pretend I don’t already know.