Proposition: ONLY DEAD MEN DIE (extract)

Here lies the body of John Round

Who was lost at sea and never found

Reported gravestone inscription never found

John Round was a sailor, a star
Part adventurer, part theory
Part bleary eyed dreamer
Almost everywhere
Yet never quite there
Screaming unspeaking and so neat in phrase
And his other long songs and ever prancing ways

(He was too clever by half
But just not bright enough)

Logic, linguistics and meaning
Were the shallow excuses he gave
Like empty offerings
To an absent god
And an empty grave

(As impossible as possible)

John Round’s charms, his treasure,
The hilarious glamour, the clamour, the eldritch shout
The yawking lout
His pouting face coming out
Like a steaming pie dish, all glorious, fetid and stylish
A fish without daughter
Drowning in heir
A dick on a stick – the latest in style
(And while full of bile)
Graceless, faceful “don’t know what you want”
Out on the fateful hunt
Getting a purchase
Hooray, hoorah, and after the paradox
foxy and doxy because he thought he oughta (for that’s what he bought her)
Of many generations
So much ororation (as if words were good for the slaughter)
The sword a sport with none running on
Gobbing and flobbing a blob of good sense,
And speaking of stupidity born of good family
Voting for dead heads because they are rich
Despising a policy, a brain, a frivolity
Mainly because ideas hurt the head
He said “The only smart Tory is one that is dead”
From the neck upwards
The brain being fuckwards
And beyond all the words that don’t fit the pitch
All my brains have just been dumped in the ditch
Rich with platitudes and other class attitudes
And many yards of wonderful thread
Spun out and strung out on his stories of glories
His dawning yawning truth being yours
As you read the stone bedhead that doesn’t exist
Oh my god it seems, I seem to be dead.

Levity like brevity often comes from the neighbours
The labours of whom are so good to blame.
Often like always is seldom the lame use of excuses
Juicy motivations and other good uses of words without name or notions of nations,
The causes of wars notes and notations, streams and oceans
Good causes and other affected effects

Near enough but never quite here
Dear John we love you so please come near
I know we’d love you if you were only around
I hate you my dear.
Such a weed

Like Jacques Lacan, up for a bit of the Other
You feel like my brother (don’t mention my mother)
Or any other interpretive bother or like you my friend you’ll find either or Either I’m not here in the end;
Neither are you but we know that already
Your death being due, such a grave matter
The death of being being the latter part of dying or in your part vying for attention and mention in the better people’s papers and other dead holes in the ground.
Premises quite unsound.

John Round’s gleeful idea from the heart
Speak up loudly with groundless complaints
And with wordless prayers of irrelevant saints
The art of which est
Pour encourager Les Autres
A poir-boire to his daughter
Poor curry and slaughter
That’ll teach John Round to die
Like he damn well ought to in wreathes of soft laughter
Welling up from our hearts
Now that’s a lie
Like little nuts in the month of May.

Being quite leary of messianic orchestral theories of the nature of manic being and quiet byways of the paranoic brain
I can at least suggest one idea about John that may not be insane though meant in best jest:
Maybe he was the captain of the Mary-Celeste
Out on a mission to lay death to rest.
Or at least a member of that lovely lady’s crew
Out of his eyes on some virgin lady’s strong brew
Or out of range of the strange news that only he knew
Offering a range of the following essential devices
Recommended by hollow novices at the most outrageous prices
That no-one I would say should pay.
Stock up on these now or else get out of the way

(end of extract, poem continues)

Copyright © Timothy Emlyn Jones 2020