It is late afternoon in The Post Coital Beetle and Slim and I are starting into our first pitcher of Blue Buck Ale, nachos have been ordered. On the television screen on the wall in front of us, a baseball player is attacking a dugout water cooler with his bat. The television is on mute. Adele emotes in the background.
It’s been a while since Slim and I have got together and although nothing has been said, I sense that he has a beef of some kind. Not that this is unusual, having a beef is Slim’s default mode, but at the moment he seems relaxed. He has just finished a three hour practice with his band “Bad Complexion”. Slim plays bass and does background vocals. The armpits of his faded Clash T shirt are wet with sweat and the T shirt has been washed so many times that it no longer fits, leaving a gap of bristly pink flesh above the belt of his jeans. The image of a pig’s cheek pops into my head.
“She’s really just an old-fashioned British pop singer, isn’t she?” He says.
“Adele, you know…somewhere between Lulu and Shirley Bassey.”
“I guess…she also has that girl next door thing”
“Exactly,” Slim says, “like Cilla Black.”
“That name brings to mind a small black and white television set”
“You could have a pint with Adele,” Slim says, wistfully, and we both fall silent thinking about sharing a pint with Adele.
The pub door opens and closes. Cold blast of January air. Skunky whiff of over-hopped ale. Or is that Slim’s armpit? The silence lingers a little too long.
“I’ve taken up cooking, I’ve become a devotee of Wolfgang Puck.”
Slim does an owl blink, I can almost hear his brain working.
“Who the fuck
Puck? And why
should I care?”
He intones smugly.
“You’re doing that 12 syllable slimverse thing again, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” he says, “and that reminds me, I have a bone to pick with you.”
Ahh, not a beef but a bone.
“This lame-ass blog of yours, I thought it was supposed to be devoted to my poems, but lately it’s all your stuff and you’ve taken stories I’ve told you and used them for your poems and created this character called Slim”
“I’m being post-modern”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“You know, there are many ways of knowing and many truths to a fact.
“Crystal clear then, how can anything be post-modern? ‘Modern’ means ‘of the present’ – ‘now’, the only possible way a work could be post-modern would be if it was written in the future, for that we will have to wait for the invention of time travel.”
He folds his arms, discussion over.
“You have a point. Anyway, you haven’t been giving me much to publish lately.”
“Ok, how about this one, it’s called ‘Rasta’:
It’s a fact
are born out
“Amusing, but a bit thin, we need flesh on the bones, Slim, flesh on the bones. Besides, I’m not so sure about this slim verse thing.”
Slim drains his half full pint glass and refills it.
“Go on.” He says.
“Well, you know, the haiku has got a headlock on internet poetry and it has seventeen syllables to work with, that’s five more than a slimverse. Now I hear that someone in the north of England has come up with a new form – the ‘anchored terset’ which is essentially a three word/four line poem, the fourth line being a punctuation mark, for example:
It’s a race towards nothingness.”
Slim drains his pint glass and leans forward, his finger poking in my direction.
“Here’s an anchored terset for you….
He tries to storm out but because we are in a booth he has to slide along the bench seat, his stomach rubbing against the table’s edge. His T shirt rides up. At the same time the waitress arrives with a plate of nachos shaped like a volcano, a volcano spewing molten cheese lava. The waitress stares in horror at the sinkhole that is Slim’s navel. Slim shouts at the waitress:
“I thought I said ‘hold the jalapenos’!
We watch him leave, on his back Paul Simonon slams his Fender Precision Bass into the stage at The Palladium in New York city.
“He seems upset”, the waitress says, and I’m thinking:
I can’t see
the pulled pork,
the pulled pork.
the pulled pork.