Carnival King

You do not expect to be bludgeoned
with a rubber chicken.
You do not expect to be throttled
with a Homer Simpson tie.
You do not expect to be smothered
with a whoopee cushion.
You do not expect to be burned
by an exploding cigar.
You do not expect a fatal shot
from a water pistol.
You do not expect to be stabbed to death
with a spork.
And so I was blinded by your buffoonery
until it was too late.
Your vast frame blubbered
with a rotund bonhomie
Santa, Falstaff, Green Man, Bacchus
you made sure there was always something festive
about your, frankly, ludicrous advances -
chat-up lines so calculatedly crap
they seemed as innocent
as the joke from a Christmas cracker
and I didn’t see the harm
in trying on your pink tissue-paper crown
but I didn’t realise that I
was the plastic novelty
the top you’d spin
between your finger and your thumb
the frog you’d make shudder
in a lopsided leap
by prodding its behind
the cheap ring you’d wear
for the duration of Christmas lunch
and nobody would notice when you
dropped it beneath the dining room table,
crushing it with your clown shoe
on the way out.

Melanie Branton

If you have any comments on this poem, Melanie Branton would be pleased to hear from you.