We were loitering with intent
at a poetry event.
Not loitering within tent,
we were outside at the front.
A pair ay chancers,
posing as bouncers.
(If a poem doesn’t rhyme
it’s not a . . . not a . . .
not a criminal offence.
they won’t send
the Waffen SS.
If they did we’d get the Iron Cross
for being the boss because
in Germany it’s compulsory
to be first in the queue.
I got a B in German
so I should know.)
On with the show:
I’m mansplaining Spiegeltent
to the missus:
“D’ye know what this is?”
Doesn’t need a sermon.)
“Spiegel means ‘play’”, I say.
“Allow me to remind ye”
says a posh voice behind me:
“It means ‘mirror’.”
He made himself clearer:
“Spiegel, son, not spielen”.
I was beelin.
So when he asks me
“Is this the queue for Brian Bilston?”
I’m like, “Nah, not this one.”
Only at The Edinburgh Book Festival
Would an Englishman
Correct your German.
So who’s Brian Bilston?
You’ll be smitten
By the stuff he’s written:
“27. Take cover from all psychiatrists
28. Do not read poems disguised as lists.
29. Dive-bomb into swimming pools.
30. And never EVER follow rules.”
We’re hosted by Elvis McGonagall
Aye that’s right, he’s called Elvis McGonagall
He attacks that big lump
In the White House, called Trump
In an accent that isn’t from Donegal:
“There’s a cowboy builder in the White House
A racist golfer swinging to the right
An American idiot alchemist
Turning beauty into 18 holes of sh**e.
A hollow man, tiny finger on the button
‘Nuclear holocaust. Bad. Very bad.”’Will this be the way that the world ends?
Not with a bang but a tweet (#sad!)”
The next act, Vanessa Kisuule,
proves that Trump’s not the only racist bully:
I struggle to remember his name
But I remember his eyes were dark
As half-remembered dreams
Drowned in shame . . .
I struggle to remember the words of the song
But as he sat they spat out the word
Picked up off parents’ tongues
And scraped off street corners
His face twisted in stoic refusal to show any pain
Nevertheless the stormy skies of his eyes
Started to rain.”
She’s crying as she reads and so are we.
Is it time I manned up
And watched some stand-up?
Well, I’ve spent fortunes on rotten comedy
at the Edinburgh Cringe, but this is free.
(I spelt ‘Fringe’ with a ‘C’ deliberately.)
Our hero is Hera Lindsay Bird
For all the darkest thoughts she has a word.
Parental Advisory Explicit Content,
Rude girl reading in a hot red tent:
“because writing poetry about f*****g
when you could be f******g
is the last refuge of the stupid.
It’s like getting three wishes and wishing for less wishes.
It’s like designing a flag the exact same colour as the sky.
It’s like crying over spilled milk before it’s out of the cow.”
We spill out the Spiegeltent
To catch the last bus home
Still laughing at this one
By Brian Bilston:
the last bus home.
Don’t know how
you got it through the door.
You’re always doing amazing stuff
like the time you caught that train.”
Gerry Farrell went from bad to verse at The Babble On Poetry Party, Speigeltent, Charlotte Square on Saturday, August 19