Thursday, July 16, 2009

Well versed

I just can’t stop thinking about this writing competition, readers. I went back and looked over the criteria, worried that—as good as my Marvellous Marvin sporting classic was (and a friend of mine compared the ending to the short story writing of someone called Raymond Carver, whoever he is)—that I was missing a trick. And there it was on the site: Rhyme.

Kids love rhyme because it makes things easier to remember. So I thought I’d try again with a rhyming story. But what should it be about? Well, the website called for it to deal with the “challenges, adventures and wonders of living within an active urban community.” Well, I live in an urban community and I’ve seen what the kids are like. But in among all the filth, the little flower can still grow. So while I’ve dealt with some key children’s issues in my epic poem (alright, it’s twelve verses) I’ve found room for a shaft of happiness among the gritty urban realism. It’s what I’ve always found to be lacking from the work of Mike Leigh, who’s a miserable old sod, as far as I can work out.

Just one word about the rhyming patterns. I’ve kept it deliberately simple, as that’s the way to do it with kids. Anything too unstructured and they lose the rhythm. Anyway, I hope you like it. And if you have kids, feel free to read it to them before they go to bed this evening. Just remember: Newsdesk tells it like it is.


Marcus, Magnus, drug-abuse, the crushing pain of bereavement, alcoholism and sexual discrepancies.

A poem for children, in twelve stanzas

By B. Newsdesk.

It was the rarest of days, in little Seed City,
For once there was sunshine galore.
Bathed in the rays of the sun, all looked pretty;
Even the town’s oldest whore.
A whore, as you’ll know, is a lady who labours
After the sun’s gone to bed.
For various sums, she gives various favours;
A whore, for a score, will give head,
For example.
A whore, for a score, will give head.

But look, one verse in and oh my! We’ve digressed.
I ought to be telling the story,
Of Marcus the Mung Bean, and poor old, depressed
Seedy Magnus – I swear it’s not gory.
That wouldn’t do for you children, no way;
A violent and blood-spattered slasher.
Instead, just a mung bean, some urban decay,
And Magnus, a helpless old flasher.
Oh! Pity
Poor Magnus the helpless old flasher.

The tale I have unfolds on the day
When Marcus arrived at his teens.
All vestige of youth not yet angled away
But the first sheen of fluff on his beans.
The night before, Marcus’s mother had spoke,
Saying “Child, you shall have what you choose.”
But Marcus’s mum was a dreadful old soak
And she’d spent all her money on booze.
What a joke!
Yes, she’d spent all her money on booze.

So with no gift at all and his low-hanging head
Full of lonely and desolate thoughts,
Marcus retrieved his old bike from the shed
And went to the rec’ tennis courts.
The young mung beans all hung out down at the rec’
There was nothing else for them to do.
They’d smoke a few joints, throw cheap hooch down their neck
And some of them even sniffed glue.
Just like the old days!
Some of them even sniffed glue.

(Just as an aside, It’s best I explain
exactly what glue sniffing is.
It’s like 70s crack; it goes straight to the brain.
And it’s certainly cheaper than whizz.
So next time you kids are in search of a high,
Get yourself down to Homebase.
Buy a white bag of glue—in the blink of an eye
You’ll be totally out of your face.
All red-nosed and
Totally out of your face.)

But as he arrived, no friends could he spy.
So he spun on his heel to turn back.
Then out of the corner of Marcus’s eye
He saw an old bean in a mack.
Marcus rode up to the grizzly old goat
To see what the bean was about.
But as he approached, the bean opened his coat,
And showed Marcus his wrinkly old sprout.
Oh, good heavens!
He showed our young bean his old sprout!

With tight-shut eyes, Marcus yelped “Put it away!”
He was ill-used to these kind of shocks.
“Oh please won’t you touch it,” he heard the bean say
“I’m usually quick off the blocks.”
“Touch it?” said Marcus “you’re out of your mind!
That’s something that I’d never do.”
“Oh, please, I implore you, don’t be so unkind,”
Said the old chap “I’ll give you some glue.
To sniff, if you touch it
I’ll give you some glue.”

But then all went quiet until Marcus heard
The elderly bean start to cry
“Please forgive me,” he sobbed “I’m a lonely old bird.
Why did my wife have to die?
It’s been six whole years that I’ve been alone,
Six copulation-free years.
I do it myself, now, while I’m on the phone
To whichever of the volunteers
At Samaritans I can get through to.
They’re good listeners, those volunteers.”

“But that’s not enough to get me through the week
So I’m afraid I’ve developed a taste
for pretty much any old drug I can beak;
Even old wallpaper paste.”
Marcus was downcast to hear of this sorrow
But began to call forth an idea.
“Can you meet me again at the same place tomorrow?
I promise that all will be clear,”
“Yes”, said old Magnus, and gave him the glue
“Tomorrow,” said Marcus, “right here.”

With that he sped off on the tired, creaking frame
And bent wheels of his rusty, old bike.
And after him came the shout “What was your name?
I’m Magnus, or Mags, if you like.”
“I’m Marcus,” called Marcus, over his shoulder.
“And there’s someone I’d like you to meet.
You’ll like her I think, though you’re a bit older
Than her, but she’s terribly sweet.
Pissed off her face, for most of the time
But decent at heart, and quite sweet.

Early next morning Marcus got up
And made a nice meal for his mum
Vodka martini, in a tea cup
With a shot on the side of white rum.
He laid out the nicest of all of her dresses
And brushed both her teeth while she drank
He ran an old broom through her matted brown tresses
And washed her with bleach, as she stank.
He loved her,
But my god, she stank.

He met the old flasher, who’d put on a suit,
And home he led Magnus Bean back.
He showed him his Mum, and Mags said “She’s cute.
Here’s a fifty, go get us some crack.”
And so, with authorial distance we draw
Away from the happy beans’ laughter
Pleased just to know that, so long as they score,
They’ll happily live ever after.


  1. Now that's far more like it. Much more suitable for the younger generation.
    Absolutely brilliant.

  2. Genius!!!!

    A great story line; a moral - and rhyme!
    A gritty, true-life tale that engages.
    As for Marcus Mung bean
    He's more cool than James Dean
    A model for kids of all ages.

    What more can I say? Your poem wins the day
    Blogleader - you're surely the winner
    But I have a hunch
    You've buggered my lunch
    I'd planned Mung Beans on toast for my dinner!

    Blog On - MrC