I published my book of poetry late last year. Since then I’ve managed to record it as an audiobook – which is perhaps the way it was intended to be enjoyed. Below is one of the pieces from that collection in print form. And, in the paragraph immediately beneath this one, is a link to the audio version of this piece.
I was asked to speak at an education conference where the theme was respect and tolerance. It’s not often I’m asked to speak at conferences. It’s even rarer that I’m invited to return to a conference (unless it’s to offer an apology). I wrote this poem for that conference because I thought it lampooned the double-standards which are so prominent in the realm of respect and tolerance. Ironically, the person organising the conference did not think it would be suitable for me to share this piece with the delegates.
1 – Boys. Pull your trousers up. I don’t want to look at your underpants. Or your backsides. It’s a symptom of a sad society when young men have forgotten how to properly operate a pair of trousers.
2 – Girls. Stop being orange. Only oompah loompas, the tango man and Donald Trump are supposed to be orange. If God had wanted you to be that colour you would have been born in Chernobyl.
3 – All students. Bring a pen to the classroom. This is not rocket surgery. You’re in a classroom. There is paper and there might be learning. There’s a strong chance you might need to write something down and – unlike you – a pen might prove useful.
4 – Boys. Don’t mumble. If you’re asking a question I need to hear it before I can answer. That’s the way these vocal exchanges work away from the role playing games on your XBox.
5 – Girls. Don’t mumble. If you’re answering a question the chances are you’re wrong. But at least let me hear what you’re saying so I can laugh about it later and share your inanities with colleagues in the staffroom.
6 – All students. Bathe. Wash. Shower. And don’t just do this once a term. Do it regularly. And do something more than spraying two cans of Lynx Africa at the most pungent parts of your anatomy.
7 – All Students. For the love of God: please don’t breed. Ever since the Baby Boomers, each subsequent generation has been part of humanity’s downward spiral. If the urge to breed does come upon you, either sniff your partner, look at its orange colour, listen to it mumbling, or notice that it’s walking with its pants round its ankles. Surely these observations will be enough to deter you all from breeding.
8 – All Students. Follow the example of your elders and always show respect and tolerance