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Gone today, here tomorrow

I'm a poet of various styles 

that can be any length and my age has no limit 

and I'd like to talk to you today about crime 

schemes and whether or not they cause 

poetic justice. Everyone's the name, 

just about everything is my business. "Is this 

just?" and"Is it a crime?" are not questions I'm 

often prey to, but I'll investigate anything 

I'm asked to, given that my reports are what 

pay, in a manner of speaking, or not, 

my wages. 


Not so long ago, whilst 

totalling up the data in my inner sanctimonium, 

Icame across a strange case containing what appeared to be 

amind intending, but caught in the act and trapped there. 

Seems the perp, known only as "the boy", had 

committed to paper what the press called a poem 

that verballed, victimised and otherwise mauled 

his dumb, bullet-headed friends. Its wording 

indicated clearly what might have been the poet's 

intention: he could, he wrote, take a gun to the fools. 

"A student frightened by the poem notified a teacher, 

who called the police. The boy, now 18, was arrested 

the next day and expelled from Santa 

Teresa High School." 


I was in several minds about this. 

My first impression, that the snitch had been arrested, 

was erroneous, as was its unfortunate implication- 

that the court, in legitimate cahoots with the cops, 

had cleverly stepped on a nark. Good riddance. 

But something else taunted me about this story. I was 

haunted by it, and mocked too-by the righteous reader, 

the victorless crime, the hell-bent writer intent on 

delivering justice-having often read their rights 

to people whose verse is at best just criminal. "For I am 

Dark, Destructive & Dangerous," he said. It was sad to see 

the poor kid go, as he did, berko with a machete-figuratively 

speaking. He was a tall-order cook of the short variety, 

specialising in hatchet jobs on sonnets 

and pantoums. 


     Doomed to curiosity and prompted 

by an ingratiating sense of civic duty, I decided to pay him a visit. 

He told me it wasn't enough, I'd have to pay double if I wanted 

information, so I went back the next day. Suspecting him 

right from the start of not really being the perp from the paper, 

Itold him I'd mislaid something and stumbled around him 

looking for clues to the pained, muzzled expression he wore 

in the words he used and their component parts, 

the disavowed constants, the sibylline babble 

his poem seemed to me to presuppose. "There are 

only two kinds of people in the world, and you 

arenot one," I continued as he demurred, deferred, 

departed from and otherwise deconstructed a response 

that made me nostalgic for my own beginings, when I 

was just innuendo.The way he'd interrupt himself 

even when no-one was speaking bugged me, 

but I didn't realise that at the time. Years later, 

he'd play me the tape-and there I was 

and here we are and never the twain shall meet. And yet 

his mouth opened and closed on his complete works impromptu. 

"It's all about locating people. Simply by typing you can become 

better acquainted, and if there is a camera you can take 

morepictures. This is a really good old map: 

Pittenweem with a blue dot." 


We set out the following day 

in hot pursuit of the golden rule-time doesn't pay- 

and having arrived at our destination pronto, set attendants 

painfully set about reconstructing the scene of the crime: 

the blackened page, the blooded ink, the hey presto 

"Something beyond us this way comes!" my perp 

suggested correctly. But it was a clause acknowledging 

the great Begone that greets each one of us who spoke. Where

was I, and at what point did it matter? Is the protagonist the 

brains behind the plot, as some have suggested, or is the actor 

simply a window onto the larger world of minders and 

decision-makers, real people who give the narrative 

substance, get-up-and-go? I didn't know 

who they were or what they wanted, or why their names 

and identities had been changed as if to petrify the innocent. 

Yet I felt compelled to accept their story, that the big hand 

leads to what the little guy swallows-a commander in chief 

petty officer's clothing-and none but I can blame him for it. 

But the cost involved was an unsolved puzzle. My perp wrote it 

down as a business expense, then up again as a novella 

in which his plot succeeded, as foretold. 


At that point

"things" came quickly to a "head". The sound of something 

tapping clicked blindly into place: it was the justice system 

"exploding"the "myth"-for the way things turn out 

is always justly as the grog-eyed mob intends. 

But the perp didn't mind, he enjoyed the publicity, 

and wrote me a note in support of the cause 

I'dnot yet forgotten about. "Having been performed, 

Ican now be released." It was signed yours truly, 

The Glitch. 


   As for that cause I spoke of-well, 

effects queens surround us, and they're all special, especially 

you, who areme personified and counting. It's in the hands of 

the terrified reader, however, as to whether the announcement 

amounts to something. Is it a law unto itself? Is it a just 

pause between collectiveyawning and the great outdoors? 

The after-effect, dear centralised intelligence, is doodles, 

spare rhyme schemes, blips, and what we were as we 

rushed toward it: wishful thinking, if that's 

the right word, though officially 

it never is. 



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Poem Audio

  • Chris Edwars 'Gone today, here tomorrow'