Sunday, 22 July 2012


“I have come for my brains.” remarked the Scarecrow, a little uneasily. 


This poem was first published online in issue 3 of Puffin Review

My mouth was a painted grimace
on a straw-filled potato sack.

I could not speak lips or tongue.
My words came from scraps
and wasteland –
rats’ feet over broken glass

Dust blew into my cracked
eyes. I could not cry.

Sometimes I sagged on this pole, like
A stilled flag. I was a wind-beggar.

I could hold up my bag-head if I chose
but usually I stared down at my scuffed shoes –
One brown, one black, no laces,
pegged in place by bulldog clips, they
hang from my trousers – like suicides.

Empty glove hands flap no fingers.

What wouldn’t I have given for a bone or
a blackened tooth?

Now my intestines itch madly, were I human
a tapeworm would be less irritating.
It’s all kept inside with strong twine and
A belt buckle.

These days - I wish I’d tear open. Let
the crows peck me slack, become
a dishrag.

Six weeks ago,
after I was given my reason,
they nailed me up here,
two sticks crossed and tied,
broken broom handles.

That’s the biggest joke of all.
Before, when I was an earwig’s nest,
these thoughts did not exist.

Now I know what I am –
I’m a sham.
A pest controller, a bird scarer,
A dead man’s Sunday best.

And I’m useless at it –
This is my last day on field duty.

They’ve been building it for a week –
Paper, twigs, unwanted furniture
logs. Everything chopped and stacked
piled up like a witch’s hat.
It’s all been dried out and dowsed in

Sacrifice is too strong a word for it,
I’m a device.

Up there’s a chair with three legs.
The coronation throne where later
I’ll receive my cardboard crown.

From tortured fool to murdered king
in a flash.

Oh how my new brains will burn.

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