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My Best Friend:
Alan Outen

Whoever would have thought
that Alan was the sort
to turn and spit such hatred?
I hadn't seen it coming,
Just ambled, smugly humming
that life's progress would be smooth.
This youth was not uncouth,
he had learning and smart ties.
I showed him all my soldiers.
The things I told him were not lies.
We clapped in time, and things seemed fine.
I taught him all my games.

Was he really always the boy
who would take such joy in the misery of others?
I never thought I'd see
such evil glee.
I had thought us more like brothers.
Perhaps I should search myself
to find the fault in this.
I was taller, he was smaller.
Was that all it took to split us two apart?
There was no art in me to make him feel
the lesser of the pair.
Yet his deep-sworn plan of vengeance
was to drive me near despair.

It could not have been my girlfriend,
for I had none,
but the games we played were mine.
Perhaps I was not the cause of malice.
Perhaps that was merely Time.
But did he need to go for the throat?
Was all my trust
a must
to be exploited and destroyed?
So, I could be hurt,
but did Outen have to go spouting spite at every outing?

One school year of woe was mine,
but one now long ago.
The years alone will heal my wounds, they say.
My sister ran into him just the other day,
and told me of the gorgeous girl he had.
Thanks, sis.
You ran into him,
but not on a steamroller.
Now that would have made me glad.
  1. I saw John Hegley do a show at the Newcastle Comedy Festival a couple of years ago, and talked to him for some while afterwards. He sold me his latest book. I got a good price. The next day, I wrote this poem. It came to me very easily, and I thought that this might be the start of many. It wasn't. I will agree with any critic who says that this is a rather Hegleyesque poem. I might even agree with anyone who says that this sort of maudlin self-centred rubbish should be kept off the net, but I wouldn't agree with anyone who says that Mike Oldfield can't play the guitar.


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