Poem Hunter
Mr Schmiggles
(1977 / Liverpool)

Mr Schmiggles

Poem By Chris McCabe

Walked four miles to give 3,000 to the estate agents.
After the wait at the east end checkout we eat
jam sandwiches in the bluebottle static of the cemetery.
The child was named Mr Schmiggles, his forefinger
confounded science as we crossed from the hospital
into a public house called THE PERSEVERANCE
(he slept soundlessly through three bottles of red).

The communist child, we found, that receives
a piggybank at birth, hurls cubes of curdled milk
onto a Happy Pig bib. The finger was raised
through Rapunzel which seized the actor
to point back at Schmiggles - but speak instead
to the papier-mâché shawl - "get that baby out of here".
Schmiggles struggled to purse the red buds of his lips.

The doctor introduced Sir Roses of mud-brown liver
and mistaking Schmiggles for a Freddy Hutchinson
said: "we want to remove his head". Schmiggles
closed the loveheart wishbone of his jaws
and with the thrash of a mako shark
clamped his mouth around the pitted soother
of his nose (another bald man wasting conception time).

Then goes Schmiggs in polka-dot mits
orchestrating a mash-up between a giant bee
and the lyrics of Mark E. Smith.
In the electric chair of hiccoughs
like a Jack-in-the-Box with Tourette's,
a Rubik's cube of wind making itself red
in his stomach as he depuzzles flatulence.

Then Lord Schmiggles of Schmiggville retesting
the Schmiggleometer to avert a Schmiggle-ectomy
- schmig schmig schmig schmig - all schmigged-out
in the schmiggle machine waiting with a gurn in his eyes
for someone to start the journey: Let us go then, You and I . . .
Falls asleep with the latch off his dreams
black feet shuffling at the edge of consciousness.

On Christmas morning Mr Schmiggles robed as Santa
and making a note of our hopes he sat on our knee.
Entered as Baron Von Schmiggles in Lindbergh collar
hitting the butter at the buffet bar, absorbed in his
first coloured lights like an ABC of amphetamines -
Christmas bulbs, full moon, blue swallows -
entranced with the digital Mozart of the green caterpillar.

We all wanted Cinderella to fall for Buttons but the lesson
is that the woman wants to dabble with The Prince.
We watched the drunks crab & morph in the fog
compelled homewards by anecdote & memory.
Sometimes Schmiggles was unsure how these things worked -
The toddler with an iron whip, the snowman saddled
on a Harley - wanting to know life - & melting to wet on the seat.

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