THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2001

 

Gerald Watts
REALITY REFUGEE
 

The fat boy with the greasy hair
Sits reading in the school canteen.
His buttocks overflow the chair
Like saddlebags. His heavy flesh
Gives off a vinegary smell,
And blotted stubble indicates
Another thing he can’t do well;
Or that the act of self-regard
Draws bits of blood upon himself.
And always in his pulpy hands
A thick book from the library shelf
Marked: Fiction – Sci-Fi/Fantasy.

On blazing backgrounds, gold, red, black,
Thin, mottled moons cut crescent shapes
As bolts of cosmic lightning crack
Their way past purple planets ringed
With spinning rocks. Here fiery suns
Illuminate the underside
Of space ships, or long-lipped dragons
Swoop over ancient, flooded plains
Where mutants still survive on rafts
Of lily pads, and wait the day
When heroes will emerge to graft
Old skills to new technology.

He reads, the fat boy uniformed
For lessons, of sly metamorphs,
Wrestling golems and unicorns
Adept at chess. He lives among
Sick sheep which weigh a thousand tons;
Robots, androids, girly-girls
He counts as his companions.
Sometimes he rides a giant worm,
Or flies aloft on wings of flame,
But, by whatever means, to his
Great joy, the ending’s just the same:
An earthly outcast finds his place
Amidst the realms of fantasy
And depths of outer space.

 
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