Blatherskite

by Bill Cox

“You coming down to the pub? Footie starts at three.”

“Oh, I may as well. I’m not getting anywhere with this poem. I think my muse has deserted me.”

“Mmm, just like your last three girlfriends…  What’s the poem for?”

“Oh, a competition. First prize is a thousand pounds. I could use it to self-publish my novel, since those idiot publishers don’t seem to know a bestseller when they see one.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t spend that money just yet. Let’s have a look then.”

“Here’s what I’ve got so far. It’s an existential piece, using the philosophy of Kierkegaard as a template for a hypothetical utopian society, with a slight nod of the head to Bacon and Nietzsche.”

“So, no fart jokes then. Hmm… ‘bevelled benevolent bounties breach broken boundaries.’ That’s a lot of Bs!”

“Yes, it’s called alliteration, one of the skills of the poet I feel I’ve mastered.”

“I’ve seen less bees in a hive! Here, I’ve got another B word for you – Blatherskite.”

“What?”

“It was on my ‘word of the day’ calendar. It means ‘a person who talks at great length without making much sense.’ It could be the title of your poem.”

“Well, if that’s your attitude…”

“Oh settle down Percy Shelley, I’m only joking! Let me finish your masterpiece. Hmm… Hmm… What’s an abomasum?”

“Ah, that was the only word I could get to rhyme. It’s the fourth stomach of a ruminant. A cow or a sheep to you and me.”

“Er… right. Not quite sure how that fits in with your general theme there, Shakespeare!”

“It’s a metaphor!”

“A metaphor for what, exactly?”

“Oh, you know, the stages of life and such like. The first stomach is youth, the second stomach is… er…”

“Yeah. I suspect that what goes through a cow’s stomach and out the other end is a good metaphor for your poetry!”

“It is the curse of the artist to be surrounded by unappreciative Philistines!”

“I feel that perhaps your ideas — such as they are — aren’t luculent.”

“Aren’t what?”

“‘Clearly expressed.’ Yesterday’s ‘word of the day.’”

“You and that bloody calendar. It takes more than swallowing a dictionary to become a good poet.”

“Yes, I know. It takes powerful imagery, inspired metaphors, creative rhyme, lyrical writing. You need to have a good chat with your muse, because she’s just not providing the goods!”

“Well, you know how I am with women…”

“Yes, a finer example of momism I’ve never seen.”

“An example of what?”

“Never mind. Get you coat. Kick-off is in five minutes.”

“Yes, yes. But in all seriousness, you did like the poem?”

“Er… Yes, of course. Just out of interest, you haven’t given up your day job, have you?”

“No. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, no reason. Come on, first pint is on you, Lord Byron.”

The apartment door closes. Artist and friend go to the pub and Muse tags along. United are beaten five-nil and all three spend the night drowning their sorrows.

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