Monday, 20 June 2011

The Extra

You can step over a body
without much effort.
You can pretend not to see
lifeless eyes going through you.

It’s my job not to be seen,
to escape attention,
to merge into mise-en-scene
and be unremembered when I’m gone.

But I’m in the news today,
after bit parts in the back of soaps
and single lines in forgotten scenes,
my fifteen minutes have arrived.

I’d like to tell the judge
I forgot, didn’t notice, didn’t know,
but he won’t believe me –
I’m not that good an actress.

I’ll cry when I tell the tale
Mum got up in the middle of the night
and never made it to the door
and I couldn’t bear to look at her

deflated body on the floor.
So I acted like she wasn’t,
did the dishes, changed the sheets,
cashed her cheques and claimed her pension,

because to me she wasn’t...y’know.
Two hundred and eleven pounds
and thirty six pence – the only benefit
of keeping mum about Mother.

And I’m in the news today, gone national.
You’d’ve stopped me in the street,
said you remember my biggest role...
but there’s a price to being famous.

© Greg Gibson

Mother and daughter left dead granny unburied for six months while they pocketed her benefits
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Greg Gibson is set to graduate from LJMU in July 2011. He appears sporadically on the Liverpool poetry scene and is continuing to study a Masters in writing.
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Editor's Note: In the world of celebrity, some argue that bad publicity is better than no publicity. How do we feel when the likes of TV actress, Hazel Maddock, make the headlines for all the wrong reasons?

3 comments:

  1. I can understand the motivation to write this poem - pretty disturbing story - but I would have liked the poet to have explored the (human?) motivations for the act more, beyond the fairly superficial ones.

    Good poem all the same.

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  2. I'd need more than two hundred odd quid to put up with the pong!

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  3. Very good as it is, I think. More to the point, I enjoyed it!

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