The Cartoon Version

By | 16 August 2019

The distinction between my cartoon life
and everyday is never an easy one.
It’s possible in both to come to grief.

Chaos is the natural order: the fun
side of the reign of terror. Violence
is comical. It’s never a real gun

but canes and slippers make a brutal sense.
I’m lost in Bash Street now. An air of menace
hangs by the school gates. My innocence

is cartoon innocence. Out in the yard Dennis
waits for a boy in specs. Back in the house
Dad flexes his muscles while his enemies,

the wild boys, lurk in the garden. Enormous
shadows rise on the wall. A burned out car
smokes on the horizon. A sabre-toothed mouse

grins at a screaming woman. There’s nothing bizarre
about any of this. This is life: get used to it.

There’s always someone somewhere crying Aaargh!

I’m bursting my sides laughing. My football kit
is strewn across the floor. I can hear myself lying
to my parents. I’m Roger the Dodger, fit

to enter the frame, steady, death-defying.

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