I vow



It’s so nice to come across an event that’s different in the poetry world. So it was a joy to be asked to take part in Poetry on the Spot, a fabulous event dreamed up by Bob Hill and Paul Canon Harris and generously supported by Apples and Snakes. The idea is simple. Great open mic. A guest poet. And improvisers given three sets of prompts and 15 minutes to write a poem about each. I had the treat of being asked to improvise alongside James Webster, with whom I’ve previously had the joy of sharing stages at Hammer and Tongue and Cheltenham Poetry Festival. We each had a weird word to right about (Webster’s zwoddle to my cuddle-me-buff) and a headline (fish killed to stop fishing and monkey steals bus from sleeping driver), and then for the finale we got to collaborate on the prompt “I love you, but seriously pick up your shit”, and came up with a moving, er, touching set of vows for each other.

I swear to worship the ground you walk on. But only in the hope it finally hears my prayers and swallows you.

I promise to swallow you. But only if the ground you’ve been walking on has been thoroughly scrubbed

I promise to honour the smalls that caress your skin and soak your cinnamon-scented sweat

I promise to skin the people you honour and use their leather to make my smalls – justifiable retaliation for the way you weirdly sniff them

I vow to love your every imperfection and to badger you about your qualities until they too become imperfections I can love.

I vow the badger will sleep in the room next door. On Mondays. I know that six days of animal satiation will suffice when on the seventh I fill myself with your musk.

I solemnly swear that I will tend your flesh with oils, your hair with unguents, your cavities with perfumed pessaries

I swear solemnly in language so profuse the air will undulate and foul entities will emerge from the universal cavities and use your head as their pessary

I swear to God that I will obey you in all things to the letter but not the spirit of your command

O God I will drink so many spirits I bay at the moon in desperation at the thought of your trousers when you go commando

I promise I love you, but seriously keep your hairs out of the plug

I promise I love you, especially when pulling your hair as you insert the butt plug

I promise I love you, but seriously I will sacrifice you to my dark overlords if necessary

I promise I love you, but seriously I will lord it over your dark orifices

I promise I love you, but seriously pick up your shit

I promise I will shit on you, but seriously I love you


Poetry on the Spot happens in Bournemouth on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, and Oxford on the 4th Tuesday. Like their Facebook page here for more info.


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