Winners 2011

James Browning (Commended)

Wells Cathedral School, Somerset

How Brando is Famous

I prefer the idea of living
in a monastery to anything when I consider
Anything.  I’ve heard from several
reliable sources that those Oceanic Islands
are the most peaceful dots but wouldn’t Marlon
Brando suit the former so much?
And I love Marlon Brando.  I want to hang his picture
on my walls to cover up the patches where the damp
shows through.

He should have done that, Marlon Brando,
an action movie in a monastery.

I’d cast him in his stirrups and broad-brimmed hat
to keep off the sun from his eyes, and have him storm
the monastery as a bounty-hunter chasing
some cruel-eyed robber or killer or some bad man
who runs along a high black balcony where the monk make drawing
of the poultry in the garden.  Seven million roosters who
each waking smash the sultry skies to pieces.

And I’m Marlon Brando chasing the robber or killer
shooting up at him bang and dodging his bullets bang
and clutching my blushing arm
and then the window fell on  my hand
and then the time-scheme of my narrative folds like a box
which the robber killer stands on
and reaches a skylight
and escapes Marlon Brando.

Brando is searching for the million Yen sticker in a punnet of berries.
Brando is turning up his starched white collar to the wind.
Brando is setting his teeth straight out against the world
like a Habsburg, though the tears are torn out of him.
The State of the Day can drain you crossly, and
you’re wanting to be caressed by the Day as you dream.
Sometimes, sure, the Day will say ‘I love you’ and mean it,
and stroke your glossy new-washed hair with smiling fingers
but sometimes the Day has an off-day
and the Day will turn nasty and will pull your hair til it wakes you
spluttering, stinging your eyes
And the Day will ask
‘Bad dream?’ all bitch and innocent face.

Brando didn’t become Brando overnight.
Isn’t so simple.  Never so simple.
And I know that.
I’m alive and I’m chasing
the lost-cause the rail-roads the bus-shelters
the Hudson River, the orange trees
and the running in the damp and the Dark.

Project Details

  • Date February 8, 2015
  • Tags 2011 Simplicity - Winning Poems