Bradford Middleton


I’ve seen the best poets of my generation
Destroyed by people who just god-damn
Refuse to listen cos I ain’t no TV god
Sell-out advising young Tories on which
Mortgage to get to escape the proletarian
Nightmare of rent.
Rent, that nightmare of suffering we must
Fulfill every single month until the end of
Time; the thing that stops me filling my
Room with books of sweet transgressive
Verse and salacious big boobed heroines
Riding into town to save the day or using
Their wiles to ruin lives like a virus killing
A slowly dying planet that the fuckers
Who refuse to listen will never read about
As they never ever read. To them it’s all
One big act, they just play pretend; if they
Want you to be impressed by their intellect
They’ll wear their finest turtle-neck and
Spout the latest nonsense they’ve read on
Twitter. Be afraid though cos these fucks
Get around, oh boy do they get around &
If you want to get heard you’re going
To have to deal with at least one of them
As they will turn up anywhere just to
Be the centre of attention even if just for
A bit but be sure if you ever decide to go
To that hip-hop poetry event on the
Outskirts of town they’ll be there wearing
Their finest Bronx style b-ball cap all the
Way from 81 just to show they know what
It means to be cool but me I just turn &

Fuck them with their banal lives, their
Dead in a ditch personalities & their
Ever so obvious social media profiles that
They’ve spent longer working on that any
Of their poems ever as god-damn it their
Twitter feed is an extension of their very
Souls, if only they had one, and it must
Only be blessed with things that are ‘cool’,
Well at least this week, and news that
Maybe one day they’ll actually getting
Around to writing something other than a
Tweet about whatever obsession they’ve
Developed this week. Fuck ‘em, fuck ‘em
All with their trolling of the uncool whilst
Insisting that every one of their friends is a
Future legend in the making whilst knowing
Nothing about anything really at all least
Of all the art of this, the writing of words,
But then to them this poetry lark is a simple
Transaction of money & ultimately the
Death of all culture. So not much then just
Everything and that is why they must be

You use it just to puff your own ego as you
Sit back and watch as you hit 1K followers
And maybe today you’ll write your second
Poem and by Christmas you’ll be Laureate
On the back of your obsequious little plea
For national unity in the wake of another
Tragedy which you see as nothing more than
A great opportunity to tug at heart-strings
Of strangers because no one you’ve ever
Known could know the horror of growing
Up or old, as my old nan did for the majority
Of her later years, in one of those high-rise
Horror shows of humanity which is one
Of the reasons I got into this whole writing
Life. To quote some old dead dude I thought
I’d show you just how the other half live…

Cheek by jowl in narrow cramped spaces
Stories high and on every floor a story of
Destitution, of madness & suffering, of
Nights spent dreaming of escape & days
Working dead-end jobs just to keep me
To the life I’ve become accustomed; one
Not for the faint-hearted or the responsible
But ideal for someone who wants to write
Not tweet because to write takes one away
From life’s madness whilst to tweet is nothing
But your desire to willingly participate in
Other peoples’ madness & trust me, out
There you’ll get all the madness you could
Ever handle as well as your own and that
Is why I’ll rarely tweet or enter into argument
As it will be invariably with someone whose
Convinced I’m either a tin-foil conspiracy nut
Or so far out there themselves it’ll be
Impossible to drag them all the way back to
Any kind of sane thought and that is why
You’ll find me here my friends working
On these words and not caring about the
Twittersphere or how many followers you’ve
Got as when time comes to remember, and
It always does, they’ll look at you and go ‘is
That it?’ whilst me well who knows with
1000 done now who knows how many it’ll
Stop at but I can tell you this there is plenty
More to come as long as I keep on seeing
Those god-damn poets with better social
Media feeds than any of their actual books
Which I’m guessing are written by caged
Teenagers in the offices under the Faber
Building amid various bids from those
Advertising agencies who bring words like
‘vibrant’ to mean something good in terms
Of poetic ideal.

They will bring the death of poetry, the
Death of the word as they just write to
Order for the big corporations, & unless we
Carry on defying them right here in this
Sweet glorious underground, where I can
Get high, get drunk and write about whatever
I care to turn my muse to, then we are
Allowing the storm-troppers of death to not
Just kill us and with it any last resistance
As poetry slips into a death knell of advertising
Jingles & feel-good slogans made to crush
Any last hope of revolutionary zeal & usher
In a new dawn of consumerist utopia which
Will sadly mean the death of anything
Interesting and the unveiling of a fascist
Dystopian nightmare we’ve been working
Towards since 1979…