It suppose it is inevitable at a site like this people will pick up on little hints, Freudian slips and those telling habits and mannerisms that give us away. Sure enough a few of my regular readers have mentioned in quite a subtle way and with genuine concern that I might have a dark secret and would probably feel better if it was out in the open and everybody knew. So here we go…
I am not proud of this, but who among us has not done things of which they are ashamed?
What I do, have done for years, is not big and it's not clever. Sometime in the past I suppose it seemed quite racy and glamorous to those who felt constrained by the more formal manners of their time. Wild nights, lurid love affairs and periods in which memory was obliterated may have a certain cachet but we know now that people who share my secret vice often live lonely, friendless lives, neglecting their own wellbeing in order to feed their habit. It is a vile and self destructive addiction that takes possession of its victims' heart and soul. We live in a shadowy half world, we are in society but not of it and so we are creatures to be pitied, not glamorised.
I hope that by facing up to this now I may be able to get clean after all these years and perhaps rebuild some fragment of my life in the time I have left.
The cause of my downfall you see is that I am a POET.
Yes, shocking isn't it that someone as outwardly normal as I could conceal so well a horrible affliction for so long. My whole life has been a lie, what people saw was an affluent professional with a fine house, a classy car, a pretty wife and two shiny, talented children. But the essential me was in a Paris attic, zonked out on Absinthe, falling hopelessly in love with the kind of girls who posed naked for Toulouse Lautrec. Behind the dark suits and pastel shirts was a secret bohemian. Oh a few people remarked on my whacky taste in ties and hinted that perhaps I was not all I seemed to be. I fooled most people, but worst of all I fooled myself into thinking I could go on forever.
It started at school. I was always good with words and one day an older pupil suggested I should try a rhymed couplet. I was bored with lessons and just marking time until I could get out into the big, exciting world. Out of sheer mischief I accepted the offer.
I savoured that couplet, toyed with it, moulded it, crafted the meter and then added the rhyme. My world exploded, tsunamis of sensation coursed through my being. I felt as if I was one with the universe.
That was in the days when the Beatles were four fresh faced lads from Liverpool, nobody had considered the erotic possibilities of Mars Bars and weed was something puppy did when they were excited. Rock was clean then, rock stars had five hits then cut their quiffs and morphed into family entertainers. For anyone who wanted to get into serious debauchery, poetry still seemed the easiest route. My role models were not wholesome characters like Johnny Spitfire - Pilot or Fred Cricketer but Byron, Coleridge, De Quincey, Poe, Beddoes, Dylan Thomas and Swinburne. Poets were still household names then of course. Who would have though that just a few decades on Rimbaud would be mistaken for a Sylvester Stallone film?
It progressed gradually after that, thinking that I could just mess about with limericks, clerihews, quatrains to impress the other boys I carried on, oblivious to the dangers. To this day I have managed to stay away from the really hard stuff, I tried a sonnet once but was tortured with guilt for a week and hand on heart, I promise I have never touched a villanelle or a pantome. Maybe it would have been better if I had, I always deluded myself that because I was not mainlining I could handle it.
Gradually poetry took over my life. I took to dressing in flamboyant and eccentric ways, often being seen around town in the stripey T shirt of a French Onion seller (than you Cathead.) I hung around jazz clubs, took to dating older women who had been round the block and I started to drink black coffee. I was hooked.
As time went on I needed something harder than couplets and experimented with free verse and even concrete poetry. Then a few months ago someone suggested I should try haiku. I was immediately tempted, fortunately this was the shock that brought me to my senses.
Since then I have made a real effort to kick the habit. I started blogging in prose and have developed interests in fiction writing and gardening. So far it is going well, but I'm taking it one day at a time.
I am not asking for your sympathy, only that you (and especially the younger people among you) be warned by my experience. As soon as you notice any tendency in any of your friends to take an interest in meter, metaphor or rhyme, make sure they get help. Once somebody is on that slippery slope it is so hard to get off.
THAT PIECE OF TOM FOOLERY IS SIMPLY TO INTRODUCE MY NEW COMIC VERSE VENTURE WHICH IS PART OF THE GREENTEETH MULTI MEDIA NETWORK. POET'S CORNERED WILL TAKE THE FORM OF A BLOG INITIALLY BUT LATER WE WILL START TO PUBLISH THEMED ANTHOLOGIES IN BOTH PRINT AND AUDIO VIDEO FORMATS. IF YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED OR KNOW ANYONE WHO WRITES AMUSING VERSE AND MIGHT ENJOY BEING PART OF THIS PLEASE LEAVE ME A MESSAGE OR VISIT THE LINK.