Tim Turnbull grew up in North Yorkshire, lived in London in his thirties and now resides in Perthshire. His latest collection Caligula on Ice and Other Poems is available from Donut Press.
After that nasty goat business
he screwed his profile down,
plucked all his warts, sold off the bridge
and moved into a flat in town,
found himself a decent tailor,
an innovative cutter
who could disguise his lumps and humps,
then to stop the snarls and splutters
took some elocution lessons;
saw to his deportment;
found the private members’ clubs
where a better social sort went,
learnt the art of modish small talk,
how to flatter or to charm
with just a smidge of erudition
or great big bucket-loads of smarm;
who to ignore, who to trample,
when be early, when be late,
when reveal his brutish nature
in order to intimidate
and armed with these new social skills
he launched into the world
to make himself a better gnome
by getting status, cash and girls.
He took a job in publishing,
PR or some such-like
and shimmied up the slimy pole,
scaled to mildly giddying heights,
till with his air of seriousness
and his grave demeanour,
he won the reverence from his peers
you might give to a hyena.
But look into his gimlet eyes,
they’re wells of boiling rage.
He hardly can contain himself
inside that well groomed, urbane cage.
Which begs the question, doesn’t it,
how such a frightful beast
could make its way so smoothly
in the business world when it’s unleashed?
The answer’s pretty obvious,
and not a little grim –
the whole of London is awash
with semi-housetrained trolls like him.
Published in the StAnza anthology,
Skein of Geese (The Shed Press, 2008),
edited by Eleanor Livingstone.
Buy Caligula on Ice and Other Poems (Donut Press, 2009).
Visit Tim’s website.
Cover design by Liam Relph, based on the artwork Repository (2009) by W. Hunt.