By Jack Haworth

 

Up and down the half-raised brow

Of every town from Fraudway's bowel

to Follywood, then over pools

To Western ends and Gallic schools

Of acting in the purest sense

All have come to see the smashing

Of the boundaries of offence

That's being called a steel-toed mystery

Appalling in that way you've always wished to see

The greatest play in history

 

The gold dust dream of every tout

Going off in the only place

Where the crocked folk

And the fresh-faced can still hang out

For one night only no reviewers

Speculation on the subjects

Even reached the rat towns in the sewers

And the pat-down on the stairs implores

No phone call is more vital than

What is about to happen right within these walls

The greatest show to grace fame's halls

 

The curtain fell at three to eight

But didn't rise again - that satin sealed their fate

And through the silence came the seizing up of doors

The audience were paused halfway between a panic

And halfway between applause

First on his feet was Backwards-beret Barry

Grasping Carry-on Colette

"I'm not familiar with this new form

Has it got a name yet?"

Another stood, old Skep Tolane

"Oh not this pompous shite again

I thought I'd come to watch unfold

The greatest story ever told?"

 

What proceeded was a pandemonium -

A melodrama in a velodrome of charmers

Rogues and stooges fighting through the calm

For just a moment to control the farm of losers

A mass of screaming, then a fight

Between two firebombs, name of Marko Might

and Wally Will - when first blood spilled

The chilled got hot and the hot got chilled

Friar Niall said his final prayers

Laid down asleep between the bears 

He hadn't even had the chance to order his affairs

The greatest what in history? who cares

 

Someone proposed, someone vomited

Someone confessed to a feeling

Someone posed, someone monitored

Someone broke his nose trying to break the ceiling

Some got converted, some got perverted

Some got inverted and some got atoned

Some felt perturbed and some felt disturbed

And some felt their best and some felt alone

 

Mags Desperoni went looking for lasses

And Frankie Foolhardy made some last-ditch passes

The two caught eye from either end of the theatre

And knew what each wanted, so got a touch nearer

Meanwhile in the crossfire, two scrappy kids made

A football from an apple, drew a mural with a blade

Fell sideways in their laughter at the fun of being trapped there

It sure was the greatest play they had ever played

 

Then they stopped to hear the only sound

One always hears in the theatre

That was still a-missing

After pain and piss and blame and kissing

It was just a simple clap that gripped the crowd

The simian urge, a silicone beat

Always the same old dirge three steps away

From blindfold monkey stamping feet

An orchestra of hands at play

And now the curtain rose as if to say

Fin! Das Ende! And here are your patrons

They have been watching the show

For which you have been waitin'

This curtain you see, it is rather a screen

Through which the real punters have witnessed you scream

And the seats where you sit they are merely a stage

For the greatest show the world has ever seen

 

Instinctively the unbeknown performers

Turned to face the crowd and bow

It all made a sort of warped up

Sordid sense by now

To be applauded for just doing

Whatever it is that they do

Their audience before them

Stuck still, struck dim, awed blue

Oh the lives of the many

Spoken for by the lives of the few

With all their scabrous youth

And all their needy skin

And all their pessimistic

Solipsistic, nihilistic giving in

With all their might and will

Their cynicism and the thrill

Of carry-on and angled hats

They made a better show than Cats

And best of all the spectacle

They'd come to see

Was never seen again

The drama was just meant to be

The play - it seemed -was them

 

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A writer and performance poet from Liverpoool currently studying at NUI Galway, Jack Haworth has performed at open mics, festivals, supported bands, headlined and hosted poetry evenings in and around Liverpool since the age of 17.