Wednesday 15 August 2007

From "Summer With Monika", Roger McGough. 1967

the tea things are taking over,
the cups are as big as bubble cars
they throttle round the room,
the tin-openers skate on the greasy plates
by the light of the silvery moon.
The biscuits are having a party
they’re necking in our bread bin,
that’s jazz you hear in the salt cellars
but they don’t let non-members in.
The egg spoons had our eggs for breakfast,
the sauce bottle’s asleep in our bed,
I overheard the knives and forks
it won’t be long, they said
it won’t be long, they said,
and it wasn’t.

It all started yesterday evening
as I was helping the potatoes off with their jackets
I heard you making a date with the kettle,
I distinctly heard you making a date with the kettle,
my kettle.
Then at midnight,
In the half light,
When I was polishing the blue speckles in a famous soap powder,
I saw you fondling the frying-pan,
I distinctly saw you fondling the frying-pan,
My frying-pan.
Finally at mid-dawn,
In the half light
While waiting in the cool shadows beneath the sink,
I saw you making love with the gas cooker,
I distinctly saw you making love with the gas cooker,
My gas cooker.
My mistake was to leap upon you crying,
Monica, spare the saucers.
For now I’m alone,
you having left me for someone with a bigger kitchen.

'Ladies and gentlemen,
I apologise sincerely for being unable to attend this evening's performance. Owing to pressure of work, an increasing sense of unreality, and the fear of drowning in a sea of upturned faces, I have employed an out-of-work actor to impersonate me. On my behalf he will read poems, answer questions, sign books, get drunk and generally keep up the poetic image. Of course, there will be weaknesses in performance, the overeagerness to please, the nervous mannerisms too consciously affected, and it goes without saying that he lacks the charisma, charm, wit and raw animal sexuality of the real poet. I trust, however, that you will enjoy the evening, and forgive my underpaid stand-in should the mask slip and his true self show through.
Yours faithfully,
Roger McGough'

Summer with Monica
Roger McGough
Illust. Peter Blake
ISBN 0 14 058648 2