I’m Never Drinking Again: A Parody Poem

I wrote I Am Never Drinking Again…  in response to Attack by Siegfried Sassoon.  My poem is a satire of what it means to be young and carefree, mocking my college days as I don’t do stuff like that anymore (well not like I used to).

Siegfried Sassoon was an English poet and soldier during The First World War. Whilst in a hospital in Scotland in 1917, he met fellow poet Wilfred Owen (I spoke about him earlier). They were friends but he also acted as Owen’s mentor.

Sassoon is mostly remembered for his polemic and compassionate poems about his time at war and his thoughts on the war itself. This made him a controversial figure, bringing him to public and critical acclaim.

Avoiding the blind patriotism and romanticism of the war, Sassoon wrote of the horrors and brutality of trench warfare. He satirised generals, politicians and the clergy for their incompetence in support of going to the front.


At first light, the young emerge drunk and done
staggering through the town’s tired sun,
drifting in hoards of women and blokes that manifest
tremors in the footpath’s yolk; and one by one,
toy soldiers tumble towards the wire.

At 7am, food joints open. Then some soberly, and
hopelessly – filled with Jägerbombs, Schnapps shots and
their loss of dignity, these partiers crawl to meet Subway’s choir.

Like Tamagotchis with dead faces, masked with fatigue,
they finish their sandwiches, climb over the top,
while time is an illusion – hungover heads and
hysterically hoping with fortune, that they drop down dead.
As they crawl upstairs past mom’s wagging finger
and flounder through the grass, O Jesus make it stop!

Union Day

I wrote this poem not long after the first day of Freshers’ Fair 2017, at which I had a stall promoting The Rumour Quill. However, it’s a mix of my experiences of being a fresher (2016) and looking at new freshers coming in (2017).


Under the marquee’s roof,
a child turns into an adult –
well sixthformers turning into
freshers – pounding the
waterlogged ground like horses
hooves making an imprint.

Ten o’clock, the first batch
meander in, using rucksacks
like loot crates picking up freebies
like food, pins and bracelets and
signing up for societies they
have no intention going to.

And free food and cocktails has made
adults of children. Ready to join
every cult and society: feminism, rugby,
Harry Potter, Rumour Quill.
One o’clock. Peak time, with the shrill of
rhythm and rhyme from loud music as
shrouds of crowds hover like billows of smoke.

Rabbles of students everywhere.
That’s Freshers’ Fair and how every stall
except the niche ones are mobbed with
lost students and smiles.
And how wide aisles are made thin
due to the onslaught of bodies.
A person’s skin meets table.
They touch, a crutch for the arm
and that’s when it’s time to go home.

Three Seasons In Northamptonshire

I wrote this poem one night last October when we had hot, cold and everything in between in a single day. However, it’s the cold at night that I remember the most.


England grins, ridged like Botox, snot runs
marathons along my lip’s crease –
now for a big six down Nasal Valley,
it’s a one-way street – here’s Mr
Vicks, right on time, and the

newsreader says: “one of the coldest days
since The Blitz” as cars bawl like babies on
gritless roads, moving like an octopus on
rollerskates – sprawling figures of eight.
Relax, said

nobody ever, as we’re always pulling
the lever of unpreparedness in the
sluggish seconds, rolled in poundshop
blankets – banquetless on the horizon
of England’s endgame – Miss Winter

has come – sunshine lost,
tossed down her throat,
so now we must keep warm from
her storms that mean us harm.

Walter

I wrote this poem specifically for a performance at Northants Black History Association. Focusing on local history, I decided to write a poem about Walter Tull.

Walter Tull was a footballer who played for Tottenham Hospurs and Northampton Cobblers. He was also a soldier during The First World War, being the first Black British-born man to reach the rank of officer in the British Army.  His father was from Barbados and his mother was a Kentish white woman. Tull’s grandfather was a slave and Walter was killed in 1918.

My poem, Walter, is based on Mulatto by American poet Langston Hughes and on Checking Out Me History by John Agard. Both poets are known for critiquing and discussing racial politics and culture in their work.


I am like you white man, British!

European dusk
in a graveyard nation.

“You’re not British.
Just a yellow bastard!”
Like Hell!

Walter Tull. His grandfather, a slave.
His father, black, his mother, white
footballer turned soldier
in Footballer’s Battalion
and first Black British-born
man to lead white men
to fight in battle. 

White moon over No Man’s Land.
French frosty night,
full of stars,
massive yellow stars.

What’s war but a game?
Bodies of flesh
and bone.
White, blue, brown and black
men blown to bits.

Tull signed at Tottenham in 1909, making him the first black player in English top tier football 
(Walter Tull, edition.cnn.com)

The scent of rotting flesh stings the night air.
“Who are your parents?” a voice asks.
And there Walter lingers in his mixed-race mask.

Another yellow sunrise.
Half of a yellow sun
and his comrades drop one by one.

From Barbados, his father
travelled far and Walter to war.
He volunteered to go,
trading football for France’s
bombs, bullets and bayonets.

The French sky is full of stars.
Massive yellow stars as light as
the dawn, showing these white
men he was no pawn.

To them he was nothing but a toy.
A yellow bastard boy.
He went out into the night, showed
the English how to fight.

The SlaveTrade was a rotten business that even the descendants of slaves today are affected by
(The Triangular Trade, BBC Bitesize)

Walter, forward-thinking
black man of big ambitions
moving boulders over white river
rapids to freedom street.

And when he died in Spring 1918,
stars were seen dancing through the air.

A British night,
a British joy.
I am British white man!
Yes, a man, not a bastard boy.