Poem by Stephen Watt (UK)
Published in issue 39 of The Ofi Press
Middle Aged Mutant Ninja Turtle
Scrapbooks hurt the most.
Ghosts from our formative years appeared;
dog-eared souvenirs which evoked
memories of a career I loved the most.
Nylon eye-masks are folded inside the pages.
I kiss the gold urn holding Master Splinter’s ashes –
God rest his ratty soul.
Words and phrases are scribbled below,
stained by pizza sauces, anchovies
from many boxes ago, and cringe
at the surfer lingo I used to flaunter:
I’m not quite so bodacious
as when I was younger.
I blow smoke rings like halos,
combing through fan’s letters, sketches,
spelling errors scored out in pencil,
then I massage the texture of greying stubble
which powders beneath my nostrils;
a middle-aged Mutant Ninja Turtle.
I think about April, always first,
in that sunburst-coloured jumpsuit.
The way she made the world above us
appear destitute compared to the sewer love
and sanitary chutes of our underground motel;
cute, underbelly angel
removing my half-shell –
but young dudes were born to rebel.
Thundercats were also on the loose.
Nowadays, an obese puss is too fat
to fit through the cat-flap, handicapped
by a wide caboose caused by a poor diet.
They choose to blame Mumm-ra’s evil spirits.
Care Bears too lost interest, leaving secondaries
with no qualifications, lip injections
to distract from ugly tattoos on their bellies;
the world’s first sexually-transmitted, infectious teddies.
SuperTed’s magic suggestions to kiddies
led directly to lethal injection at the veterinary.
They were radical, far-out times
until the eighties declined and our prime deserted.
Reassigned to a new post, a turgid ghost
banished beneath the surface
to work for the minimum wage.
At my lowermost ebb, where the largest percentage
of teenage workers dare not tread,
my rage twists and twirls,
sneers and snarls
like an uncontrollable instrument
exhibiting explicit commercials.
Here, my middle-aged mind veers into journals
of life as one of the Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Stephen Watt is a poet and performer living in Glasgow. His debut collection ‘Spit’ was published in March 2012 by Bonacia Ltd. following his win at the Poetry Rivals Slam one year before. Stephen has since won a number of national competitions and he has performed at festivals including Wickerman and Eden.