INFAMOUS POET by Barry Tebb
I never did fit in – at six or sixty one –
I stand out in a crowd, too young or old
And gather pity like a shroud. "Is that real silk?"
A teenager inquired. "As real as Oxfam ever is
For one pound fifty." The vast ballroom was growing misty
And blurred with alcohol I’ve never had the taste for.
"Fuck off" a forty-plus dyed blonde said half in jest.
So I chose the only Asian girl in Squares with hair like jet
And danced with her five minutes centre stage –
I’ve lost all inhibitions in old age. A Malaysian architecture
Student invited me to sit and get my breath back
"Le Corbusier described a house as a machine for living in,"
I quipped; she slipped a smile and sipped her drink and said
"I love Leeds and its people; in seven years I’ve never
Heard a single racist comment, whatever the papers say"
Malaysian girls are rightly known for their sensual beauty
But I made my pitiful excuses and slipped away.
I knew I couldn’t make it, couldn’t even fake it
With all this damned depression in the way.
Leeds boys are always friendlier than the girls,
They see themselves grown older in my years
And push the girls towards me with a glance
"Go and give the poor old man a dance!"
And dance I do and show my poems around
Like calling cards and jot lines on my palms.
Reading Lacan into the night I thought things through
But somehow none of them was half as good as you.