24 May 2010

Tuesday Poem: Biograph, by Scott Kendrick


By Scott Kendrick

Chapter 1 – Early Days

First Name Second Name Last Name was born.
In that era, it was common practice.
A sickly, stunted child, Last Name quickly.
Even at school, the young First Name often.
Friends from that time say he was never the sort.
A teacher recalled a typical example.
In the holidays, a job in his uncle’s shop.

Chapter 2 – The Watershed

It was at university, however.
Here, Last Name discovered for the first time.
Inspired by his new-found freedoms, he completed.
But even then, the political climate.
Recalled Last Name, “It was a time.”
From that point on, Last Name’s mind was.
But for the ambitious young man, there remained the problem.
So Last Name returned.
It was a decision that was.
Would the future bring?
Or would it?

Chapter 3 – The Arrow Flies

The tensions were evident from the moment Last Name.
Despite these setbacks, however, he never once thought.
It was simply not his way to.
Disappointed, but more determined than ever, Last Name approached.
And so, at A Specified Age, First Name Second Name Last Name became.
Said Last Name at the time, “It’s simply not.”
But if he could have known then, would he still?
This is a question.

Chapter 4 – What Price Success?

The critical and commercial reaction was.
Although Last Name feigned indifference, it came as no surprise.
Family and friends found him.
It was during this time that the drinking.
In an interview, Last Name said “I”.
In A Specified Year, buoyed by his success, Last Name made the fateful.
It was to be the last time.

Chapter 5 – The Backlash

The public response was.
Hitting out angrily at his critics, Last Name accused.
Furiously, he began.
But the new work wouldn’t.
Again, Last Name turned to the bottle, but this time.
By now Last Name’s physical appearance shocked even.
Worried for his health, his friends tried.
“He just didn’t care,” said Footnote Friend, “no matter how.”
There seemed to be no way.

Chapter 6 – Final Days

On A Specified Date, Last Name visited.
The diagnosis was.
Last Name, however, was determined to.
Throwing himself into his work.
And there was to be another.
After A Specified Number of Years, Last Name and Footnote Friend at last.
Despite his rapidly declining health, Last Name.
A Specified Amount Of Time before he died, Last Name.
It was to become known as his finest.
On A Specified Date, First Name Second Name Last Name finally succumbed.
But even in death, Last Name.
As he said, just hours before.
“I was.”

Scott Kendrick is a poet who is, in my opinion, vastly under-rated. Some of this is his fault, some of it is mine, and some of it is just the way it is.

He' s a poet who isn't afraid to rhyme, and who knows how to do it in just such a way that it gets past my oh-my-god-it-rhymes-and-therefore-is-either-terrible-or-written-100-years-ago meter. Usually it does this through being brutally funny.

He's great on the page, and especially awesome in performance. He wins poetry slams. I like his work so much that I published his second book Cold Comfort, Cold Concrete: Poems and Satires in 2007. (His first book, Rhyme Before Reason, was published by HeadworX in 2001.)

The above poem is from Cold Comfort, Cold Concrete, along with poems about United States’ foreign policy, materialistic culture, love, student loans and cricket. Flip the book over and you have satires, originally published in the underground satirical newspaper The Babylon Express.

Around about the time I published Cold Comfort, Cold Concrete, he moved to Otaki and started having children, which has curtailed his writing somewhat, but he'll be back.


melissashook said...

Oh, dear, I hope the having of children doesn't totally spend his resources, and that publishing this gives Scott Kendrick a nudge, reminds him that wee hours of the morning might be a good time to write again.

Thanks you

Morgan said...

I love this one :-) Everyone should have that collection on their shelf!

elderflowerpressee said...

Nicely. Reminds me a bit of Flann O'Brian.

Helen Rickerby said...

Thanks for your comments guys!

Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

Another wonderful poet. Another wonderful poem; I love the repetition and mystery, where what is withheld is as important as what is revealed. I certainly hope we see more of his work too. Thank you Helen. Thank you Scott.

A Cuban In London said...

'He' s a poet who isn't afraid to rhyme'

To me he's a poet who isn't afraid to write. Period.

Many writers (and I include poets) come across as people who are almost asking for permission to write. Remember what Laurence Olivier told a younger Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man when the latter trusted his doubts about his craft to the former? 'Just act young, man, act!' Well, just write, authors, write! :-)

Many thanks for posting this fantastic poem.

Greetings from London.