A Defiant Move
In what was later termed his ‘late defiance’
the Chancellor carried an ever-swelling lump
on his right thigh for months without treatment.
When confronted he used words like ‘vital’ and ‘clear’.
He took to stroking the lump in slow circles
while justifying policy, and paparazzi
had no trouble getting compromising lump snaps;
lotions, tanning lamps, experimental suit fittings.
The lump’s nature was debated on phone-in
radio shows, and a once-loved comic actor voiced
‘The Lump’ on a once-loved political sketch show.
The lump was feeding the national conversation,
only more so when the Chancellor rejected
its removal on a live stream, fatally stating ‘this lump
is plainer to me than any number of your words’.
I can now reveal that John has since spent time
in silence in the desert, that he brought Lumpy
to term last year on a hot, really hot day, and that
out flowed such wonder that he couldn’t quite
express, so he thought it perhaps beautiful.
The Captain summoned me into his cabin and said
I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I hate you
a little less each day. Your lacklustre shanty singing
doesn’t fill me with the same raw contempt it once did,
and your insubordinate grunt when ordered to scrub
the galleys is almost an endearing tic by now.
I struggle to put the same energy into your lashings
as when we first met, and your habit of whistling ‘Ob-
La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ each morning almost soothes my
polyneuritis. It would be easiest if you simply
walked the plank, but even that might bring me joy,
clownish as you are. He leant back and patted
the tomato seed packets in his breast pocket.
Just remember: it’s not me, it’s not you. I ghosted
on deck, where a pink cloud grew, and burst out laughing.
Now I had time for new hobbies, like knot-tying.
I took some rum and meat and scaled the crow’s nest
for an ocean view. Then I watched the sun sink,
hoping I’d find someone to at least share some
resentment with before we reached the sunny beach
where our soulmates waited, and faced the fact
of never-ending love.
Guy Elston’s poetry has been included by The Moth, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Honest Ulsterman and other journals. He is (sort of) on Twitter - @guy_elston