So, here are the 25 poems I wrote in less than 25 hours at Mark Watson’s 25 hour show raising funds for @rednoseday – I was only there and writing for 12 1/2 – a fair compromise, I think, given that at Mark’s last ‘long show’ in 2009, I organised a 24-hour ‘Perpetual Motion’ machine – people reading Andrew Motion’s works in shifts – and a few months after developed heart failure. I’m not blaming Mark for me almost dying – but it probably was one of the causes.
Anyway, massive thanks to all my supporters and those at the show who gave me poem title ideas! We broke my target and raised £232.25 plus change donations. And you can still give at http://my.rednoseday.com/sponsor/richardtyronejones Some of the poems explain some of the crazy things people did: see http://www.rednoseday.com/whats-going-on/mark-watsons-25-hour-comedy-marathon. The whole night raised in the region of £50,000 for goats, malaria pills and Lenny Henry’s STD treatment (see poem below). Most of it was rich people showing off, but it’s all for a good cause.
1. Anonymous Sponsored £15.00 – not all the poems are going to be limericks, by the way.
Oh you cheeky Anonymous Hackers
you sure haz some ginormous knackers
You’re the internet’s sappers
you go like the clappers
Catching leaks like you’re hunters and trappers
but your autonomous non-hierarchical cellular manner of anarchic cultural jamming
leads to a frank lack of tactical planning
the revolt-flames you’re fanning
set the authorities scanning
and you couldn’t save Bradley Manning.
2. A word with a friend – for Linda Slawinska
O nemesis, when we play generic app Scrabble,
forging high scores from what seems mere babble,
your word power is concomitant with that of Czech playwright and President Vaclav Havel
I… just dabble. My mind addles.
By the end -
each word’s a punch!
Adding words that sound like sneezes -
Xu! Bless you.
As you rack up another triple letter score,
I could’ve sworn there weren’t that many Ms left on the board
I can’t believe a professional poet’s being beaten by his mother-in-law-in-law
I give up, I’m not playing anymore.
I would concede, but don’t have enough es.
Next, let’s have a poem writing contest instead. Please!
3. For Gomboo: Can I get a limerick on the free-time habits of an ex-pope? Hell yeah!
A thin thin old ex-pope named Benedict
sprouted devil horns, just like a heretic
till two prog-rock poachers
ground one up for a potion,
and used the other one as a theremin.
4. Lara Sponsored £10.00
If you wrote me a poem would it be about breasts and James Bond? I hope so.
Lara, for you it would also be a sonnet.
The latest Bond girl is… a psychiatrist
The name is breasts, James Br – er, I mean Bond,
I like them shaken. Pushed up. Clad in silk.
Coated in gold. Or cream. Whatever, I’m fond.
Sorry? Did I not taste my mother’s milk?
M’s for mother? Thought it stood for Murder -
So my surrogate family’s MI6?
And Q equips me, like an absent father?
And running from my death I flee to sex?
The classic Eton profile. Psychopath.
I’m making sure to look you in the eyes.
I’m trying hard to choke derisive laughs.
The only breast I ever loved has died;
My greatest enemies, my closest friends,
the only things I ever loved are death’s.
‘it’s a condom that makes you last longer, Bond. It’s from Poundland’
5. Richie Brown Sponsored £20.00
I’m gonna be nasty and ask for a pantoum about Khartoum. You’d better hope you get 25 bigger donators or that’s your brief
WHITE NILE’S RUNNING THROUGH MY MIND… WHITE NILE…
Flows away, cooling the heart of Khartoum,
New hotels glistening, blooming, five star style
In oil-drenched soil. The populace balloons,
Flows through, to pump the new heart of Khartoum,
named for its shape, the Elephant’s trunk tip,
now gushing oil. The populace cartoons,
a gulp, once taken, cannot be unsipped.
Named for its shape, the Elephant’s trunk tip,
known for its grass-snakes: Arafat, Bin Laden.
The Gulf, once opened, cannot be re-zipped,
Remember this is desert, not a garden.
Blown up for the Wanted, Arafat, Bin Laden,
New hotels listening, shivering, five star style
For the return of desert to the garden.
WHITE NILE’S… RUNNIN’ THROUGH MY MIND… WHITE NILES…
6. anonymous (Jonny Brick) Sponsored £5.00
A poem in AABA or ABCB scheme about how Michael Jackson’s songs have helped the Developing World? ‘Bad is Good’ and somesuch. Very best of luck!
Sorry Jonny, the rhyme scheme didn’t quite work out the way I thought… er, I don’t know much about the King of Pop either. I was a bit knackered by this point. I like the title, though.
Musician, heal thyself
If you want to heal humanity
You don’t need to adopt a manatee
To cleanse the world of hate
get a child actor to rap your middle eight.
What about sunrise?
What about rain?
Get a chimp.
What about bankruptcy?
What about chronic pain?
Just die and it’ll be sorted.
i ain’t scared of your brother
i ain’t scared of no sheets
i ain’t scared of nobody
shame mate, you should have been.
don’t tell me you agree with me when i saw you
kicking dirt in my eye
Don’t really know how you could get away
with kicking dirt in someone’s eye
when it’s presumably open
Even if you’re Jackson.
Shame you never knew if you wanted to be
black or white,
the man in the Mirror,
or a Liberian girl.
7. anonymous Sponsored £5.00 – a poem about a raunchy encounter with Miss Piggy…
I once had a date with Miss Piggy.
So I asked some advice first from Kermit
She must’ve made him feel quite shitty
as he just said ‘Before you pork it, worm it’.
I never expected her erotic approach
though I suspect that Jim Henson had a hand in it.
I’m not saying the Ice Pigcess’s manner was dry
But her muff felt quite like it had sand in it.
Yet she stroked my hair, and I felt her felt pelt,
licked her nipples, all twelve, stoked desire,
Then halfway up the stairs, I made her bacon melt
And at climax, she shouted out ‘Hi-yah!’
8. For Bernadette Reed
Richard I am sponsoring you for £5.00 to write a poem about the pharmaceutical industry and how it ‘answers’ questions that it makes sure keep on coming. Cheers Bdette x
I’m afraid Bernadette, given I didn’t have the internet at the show, or access to Ben Goldacre’s ‘Bad Science’, I didn’t have the information to properly fulfill the commission. However, while Bernadette is an alternative therapist, and I am a confirmed empiricist with the pacemaker & meds to prove it, I thought I’d come at it from a different angle…
It has some use…
My ex comes to visit every couple of weeks,
for a chat, a quick hug, and a kiss. On the cheeks.
She drops in. I’m on her route home, though no longer her route to one,
I keep in touch although my mates say I should make her do one.
She talks about her course on reiki and crystal healing,
I of my clinical trials into the neurological basis of feeling.
We’re still friends, it was a joint decision,
but she’d view any trial resumption with derision.
Her heart is warm, if covered with fairies
Her hands lukewarm – noli me tangere.
So each time she pops in, I make sure I’ve washed up
putting myself into it, then rinsing, cup to cup
so that as she puts her lips to her cup of herbal tea
I kiss her again – via homeopathy.
9. A clerihew for Zach Braff (who we killed on twitter when he wouldn’t visit the show, and was later spotted eating fish & chips)
RIP Zac Braph,
whose performances generated more energy than a Van de Graf.
But he scorned #25hours, so let this be a parable -
we made him choke on mackerel.
10. Beverley Hills chihuahua (for Ollie F)
The man who watched Beverley Hills Chihuahua
for a day, felt like he’d been deflowered
by the pack of toy dogs
crushed inside his mind’s cogs
But no-one can say he’s a coward.
11. The world’s longest hug
- When zombies ate Aberysthwyth
The flesh-eating Zombies of Aberystwyth
chose their victims based solely on dick width.
They moaned ‘boners!’ not ‘brains’
raided schools, homes and trains,
till its blokes all had naught left to piss with.
- Never enough cake (not that good to be honest)
‘I’ve never seen so much cake in my life…’
Gemma from Exeter – at 3pm, exit her.
‘She’s bought that much cake, give her a wristband’.
One that will no longer fit.
But you can have too much cake –
there’s almost a whole fat person’s worth left
I tell you who just can’t get enough.
Depeche Mode. Let them eat cake.
- Woman in a bath
Woman in a bathtub, I know, I know it’s serious
My my my my my my fingers are prunes
Woman in a bathtub your situation’s precarious
My my my my my your tootsies are cold
She’s been livin’ in a bath
She’s been livin’ in a cardboard bath
(It’s very strong cardboard).
I found it hard to find enough things to do
in Bath for five hours,
let alone a bath for 25.
Still, it makes the rest of Norwich
- 800 balloons and no helium
It’s the Johnny Cash song they suppressed
Equivalent to Bowie’s ‘The Laughing gnome,’
Cash is a hard-luck, working class cowboy
drunk-punches his boss, has to leave the land
Become a children’s entertainer.
Now he finds himself in an empty hall, surrounded
by eight hundred balloons and no helium
crushed by the rising price of floating -
- crushed by the man -
With echoes of Fulsom County Prison Blues
and despite the eccentric subject matter
he’s just about about to pull it off, before
the final verse, in which, without consent
the helium arrives, too late to save the party,
his voice is suddenly sped up, Chipmunk-style
and June Carter enters the hall berating him
you washed-up drunk! you old pathetic clown!
- The tyranny of time (for Kate, who was part of the Perpetual Motion machine)
Why don’t we do this more often?
Why can’t every day be a #25hours day?
Why can’t every month be Edinburgh?
Time has a strong arm: it has all the time in the world.
The tongue in the skull that the clock ticks out
Is like being hit in the face by a pie on the hour, every hour,
as the piano player gets faster and faster – for
The real life in real life is just the tip of an iceberg finger,
the end of the wand that has the magic in,
and is over in an eyeblink, short as a night’s sleep.
- Two Scottish red noses in space (For Mark Cunningham)
Equal Opportunities in the Scottish Space programme
Twa alkies in a tin can
Twa alkies in a tin can
Where once the earth span round for them
waiting to hurl
Now they spin round the Earth
waiting for the slingshot to hurl them away.
Red noses burst by pressure,
not by booze
And soon Mars looms,
a huge red nose.
They remember Alex Salmond’s proud hand-shake
how MSPs waved them off from Cape Moray
how stages dropped away, drained of oil
slur of how they fell for a Government experiment.
Still, someone has to investigate
the effects of alcohol in space.
If only there was a hostel
on Phobos or Deimos
If only there was love outside
not a vacuum
And as they fall into orbit in the Kuyper belt,
realise there was never meant to be a Homecoming
- James the Busker – who spent 29 hours busking
Brave endurance busker, James Farrimond
(Whose favourite font’s probably Garamond)
had numb legs, so freezing
he was thinking of leaving
but Mark’s enthusiasm transfusion meant he carried on.
19. Love sonnet for Gemma & Chris
Gemma de Niro’s streaming, talking Italian;
With Stevenage’s @only1jones tuned in
a bored, insomniac rapscallion
‘Who judges the judges?’ Why, it’s him.
And he judged she looked good, so he sent
one tweet ‘is she single’? Emma Kennedy
replied ‘She likes you. Report to the tent.’
You know the one, red with a smell of wee.
So when he got the train down to Islington
Both were glad of this curse of insomnia,
cos they hit it off, got this romantic business on
because at Mark’s shows… Amor vincit omnia.
But alas, before Gemma got to know him
He fucked off, to commission this poem.
20. Medium sized dog acts as a metaphor for a large dog. For Tom Phillips.
After Winston Churchill
I am being stalked by a medium-sized black dog.
I am being stalked by a dog-sized medium – black magic.
I am being stalked by a small black dog that dreams itself a medium dog:
I am swamped by its baggy magic costumes.
I am being dogged by a medium sized-stalk. It shags my leg black.
I am doggedly being with a medium sized blackleg. We magic.
I am a magic dog. We are medium-size legged black stalk-beings.
I am being stalked by a size dog.
In being, I am. Stalk a black medium, doggledy, dog.
I am dog-sized magic. Warm turds blacklegs.
We am magic turds. Medium magic turds.
I stalk through medium black magic dream-turd beings;
the medium is the stalking dog.
21. Iambic pentamer including the phrase ‘sex nose’, for Dec Munroe.
I done a pantoum
40 red nose days
Lenny Henry is wearing his sex nose.
He’s doing charity sex for forty days.
As he French kisses fat girls their necks glow
He’s off cross country-skiing with two gays.
He’s doing charity sex for forty days.
The venue is his home town, Dudley’s, zoo.
He’s off cross country-skiing with the gays.
He’s overcome his fear of smell of poo.
The venue is his home town, Dudley’s, zoo.
dressed as a lion, fucking Tracey Ullman.
Coming tears of fear over lion poo.
Henry’s pulling more trains than a Pullman.
Dressed as a lion, he’s fucking himself up, man
doing charity sex for forty days.
As he French kisses fat girls their legs go.
O, Lenny Henry’s worn-out red sex knows.
22. For Mhairi McGhee – another sonnet
Reality TV is ethnography,
And I don’t just mean My big fat gipsy wedding.
-except it bunks, not debunks, myths of geography
it’s unlikely they’ll follow the glam male slags of Reading.
Chelsea, Essex – they’re not tropical
jungles, cut off from the world’s hive-mind
though although their cannibalism’s merely metaphorical,
Each’s clique’s about the size of African tribes.
But that earlier ‘reality’, Big Brother
introduced TV to heroes with orange faces
Soon the Only Way was Essex or The Other
If you voted out the wrong culture, you were racist.
And the world, and all tribes in it, showed disgust.
Reality TV’s ethnography; discuss.
23. Daffodils ‘Version’ – self-plagiarism for Elizabeth Cirio
the wind farm gazes out to sea, hands casting benison on the sheep being transported to die in Caerwent’s non-Roman arenas. Screwing themselves deeper into the landscape with each turn of their petals. The odd one halt, standing to attention. Slowly slowing down the world-wide wind. Black sheep silhouette on the hillside. Beating nothinghood into electric submission. Bended scythes threating absence into power. With the surefootedness of canoodling words. On the hillside behind, in March, sprout, Nature’s touching faint echo, springs of pale assenting daffodils, nature guided by the cyclops eyes of their elder brothers. Oh yoga class of skirl-armed derricks! O wells of clean odourless oil! Spin, spin like dandelion clocks in God’s breath, proving that he loves us, he loves us, he loves us, for it is St David’s Day!
24. J. Edgar Hoover clerihew – for Rebecca
J. Edgar Hoover
Saw himself as an American society’s improver
Until Mike Tyson
Caught him dressed as a woman sucking himself off with a Dyson.
- I don’t want to sleep, I want to go on an adventure with you
(title suggestion by @Mr_Ydir – I didn’t write about the show, because the poem itself would have ended up about 25 hours. I took it to the personal with another goddamn sonnet…)
You know them. Annoying loving couples,
Tongues dancing like two epileptic slugs
Nibbling on each other’s waxy lugholes,
hands up each other’s underwear like Muppets.
Splashing cash in pubs, acting profligate
causing cash and pheremone inflation,
practically practising mutual masturbation.
It’s enough to make you wish you’re celibate,
but not quite enough to stop you watching
those smug, faded, wrinkled thirty-somethings
imagining they’ll soon be dirty humping
on beds who posts bear far too many notches
I’d like to cut their hearts out, hobble them
Worst thing is – you and I are one of them.
If Adrian Sztucki would like to contribute I will happily still write his suggestion to:
Write a poem about inbreeding in the immigrant Romanian dog community and I will give you nothing. But teach me how to write a poem about the inbreeding in the immigrant Romanian dog community and I will be able to feed my family for 47 minutes.