I submitted SILICONE, aka CHICAGO LEGEND, to an anthology of poems about murder and they turned it down on the reasonable grounds that it was a poem about criminal negligence and illegal disposal of a corpse, rather than about murder. So I sat down and wrote three poems about actual murderers – the one I certainly met, the one I knew well and was probably a murderer, and the one I have met who may have been an actual murderer or just a fantasist who looked like him…
And yep, I know these really have to go behind a cut for triggeriness.
1.’A vigilante kills all gangsters’ whores’ –
Bad script idea, so I rejected it
Politely. Didn’t call it sexist shit.
A page boy hair-cut, slightly pitted pores
Zapata mustache. I got in his van
hitching to London. Such a bad idea-
his rants told me this had to be the man-
god’s plan for him was getting very clear.
Some bitch had turned him down. And it was me.
Then I left Yorkshire. Never made the link
until they caught him later. You don’t think
some man you met goes on a killing spree
first in his head, and then on paper tries
to kill, then stabs real women in the eyes.
2. I wandered through Alf’s kitchen to the loo
Said hi to Dennis who washed dishes there
Had an off putting, slightly fish-like stare
and brown suede shoes. I saw him in pubs too
in Soho, with young men. We’d nod and smile
the way you do. He’d take the young men back
and fuck them sleepy, and pull out a black
string tie and choke them. Wagner all the while
playing. He’d chop them up, and boil the bits
and pour it in the drains, until the smell
brought police. Environmental health as well.
Alf and his wife Diana told me ‘It’s
good that we never let him near the pies’
I laughed and did not look them in the eyes.
3. Someone smashed Big Pearl’s head in with a brick
somewhere on Streatham Hill. She didn’t die
for several months. One open twitching eye
and halting words, and sometimes she’d be sick
trying to speak. If Linda came with flowers
Pearl would just freeze. Linda would chat away
as if there were no problem, and would say
they’ll catch the bastard. Pearl would sob for hours
After she left, and never tell us why.
They both turned tricks, they both used drugs a lot.
Pearl couldn’t walk, or eat, and then she got
some bug or other and we knew she’d die
and never say who’d done it. As her friend
Linda was there beside her to the end.