Apparent Failure: A Triptych


‘The Best Hamlet of his Generation’:
Hard times, neglect, or the corrosive dollar
Have reduced X to the hack boffin
In a ‘B’ horror flick, emotion’s gamut
Dwindled to a single look, his script
The odd cliché between special effects
For which only howls and screams are needed:
‘Manqué, manqué, manqué,’ leers the subtext,
‘Below criticism, just short of porn.’


‘The Rimbaud of his Year’: Spurred on
By praise he never dreamed might be insincere –
Also in the pipeline a bildungsroman
Publishers are yet to queue up to print –
Here in the lengthening interim
Y peddles TEFL to reluctant ears:
Muse in mothballs, his voice turned droning curse,
He sweeps errors from language’s bottom floor
For more than he’d ever get perfecting verse.


Legs gone, heart going, Z meanwhile ponders
Missing medals, ungraced podiums...
Pole packed away, an overgrown wand,
That world-beating vault is forty years
In the run-up as, with a gasp, he clears
The bar of his own body; still inside his chair,
Feels himself soar on into the blackness
Where no newspaper has been before –
Last is first, less seems more, failure success.

Martin Bennett | Mudlark No. 12
Contents | After Cézanne