Poem of the Week - 'The Protagonist' by Paul Stephenson
You'll remember him well as the manipulative tabby with
disembodied voice, a bona fide weirdo unfurling flashbacks and
over-reactions. What face work! Rush to see him without wrapping
pour honey onto toast from a vial (no, it's not technically a test tube),
then tongue the long-lost moment, lick it burn-resistant. Put simply,
he's the essential difference between what you see and what you get,
out 'n' about scalpelling global hides, scrubbing striped monsters in
plushest villas. He excises all duties, his custom to make a drop of
blood bloom casually like a rose garden, into a madding playground,
a heavy-scented car park. You're not convinced?
Listen! This man shoos his menagerie of crazies frequently, no time to
swan around taking prisoners carving endings into their own neck.
A clip-board controller of destinies, subtle inside a tiger costume or
visual in-joke, those incarcerated eyes are his signature give-away.
Probing deep into welling entrails, he's attractive and welcome
to prettiness, subtitled dizziness, v. v. unstable but smorgasbord
gorgeous. Mayhem's a safe bet in his narrative arc. He'll rework you
loosely, the public gazing on as your beachfront melts.
This experimental poem caught my eye as one of the many very unique poems from Penned in the Margins' Adventures in Form: A Compendium of Poetic Forms, Rules & Constraints. The aim of the collection is to explore and introduce poems written in unusual forms. For example, Stephenson's poem above is made up of fragments of a film review and juxtaposes 'unexpected - and unintended' words for a disorientating effect. Other poets in the collection include Patience Agbabi, Christian Bök, and Joe Dunthorne.