I do workshops in schools from time to time and I love ’em. The students come up with such great material. I think every poet who works in schools has had the thought: I wonder if I can nick that line and pass it off as my own? And of course, the answer is always: no, that would be unethical.
Then I realised I could use the smokescreen of ‘found poetry’ to plagarise to my heart’s delight. This poem is constructed entirely from lines I’ve pinched from kids during school workshops. The kids in question ranged from yr5-yr8, so roughly 9-13, and came from schools all over the UK, and also Beijing, Australia, and Brunei. Running through all their lines is a strange melancholy. Being young is a surreal, difficult time. This poem is like a cry from the hivemind of today’s youth. Make of it what you will.
Poem Composed Entirely Of Lines Stolen From School Workshops
I am the most popular child in the world.
The sky is a gangster pancake
digging my brother in the shoulder
with a big hairy fist
till he begins to cry.
‘Shut up,’ says Mum,
her big trollface melting.
Yesterday, the day seemed so pleasant.
The water in my sink performed Indian music.
Clowns did not exist.
I jumped on my house.
I jumped on my mum.
I saw Noel Edmonds savaged by beavers.
We blew up Thorpe Park and we blew up Justin Bieber.
The trees were singing in the wind to greet me.
I stayed up all night and I wasn’t tired.
I wish I had woken up happy.
I wish I could do my buttons up right.
If I were older, I’d have my own life
I’d start a circus with a fish
I’d buy lots of beer, and give it to the poor
I’d have a face transplant – I’d get David Attenborough’s face
I’d move out, to my gran’s
I’d marry Pippa Middleton for her personality
I stayed up all night and I wasn’t tired
I didn’t feel shy in front of anybody
I said to the lovely girls: ‘Fetch me my swimming pants! The ones with all the animals on.’
My driver had a pet gun called Betty
‘Say hello to Betty,’ he said
I saw my second wife
I told her I loved her
(I didn’t really)
I jumped into my tiny, orange time machine
I went to the core of the Earth and didn’t burn
Joe the very interesting butler was there
I was melting but it was nice
The bus was being driven by no one at all
And I wasn’t tired
Zombies rip the brain from my head;
the mind is a horrible cobbler,
hammering nails through
Taylor Swift, my mum’s cheesy pizza,
I curled up in a ball crying.
I was clean, and wearing my batman costume.
I love my life.
I screamed 58 times.
I stayed up all night, and I wasn’t tired.
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