Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

An adopted surrealist poem: ‘Upstairs’

After the ‘Grist’ reading in Otley on 3 April, there was the usual “read-round”, which had a contribution from just about every person present (about 15 or so).

One was from a grizzled-looking man in his 50s, dressed somewhat in the style of a biker, with a grey moustache.  He read the following verse, after which I shook him by the hand.  His fingers felt like iron rods. 

I asked him for a copy of the poem, which he had in front of him in a narrow-ruled A4 looseleaf pad.  I was trying to give him my email address, when he unceremoniously tore the two sheets of the poem off the pad and handed them to me. 

It didn’t have a title, and so I have entitled it, “Upstairs”.  What follows is a literal transcription of how the author, whose name I still don’t know, wrote it.



When you’re out in the fog
and you meet some-one
it could be Werner Herzog,

it could be Werner Herzog
out in the fog
walking his dog.
Or Lord Lucan

Lord Lucan
out in the park
looking for fun
while it’s foggy
after dark.

If you’re out in the park
looking for fun
while it’s foggy
after dark
and you meet a man
with a funny shaped head
it’s probably not Lord Lucan.

It’s probably not Lord Lucan
if he says ‘ello ‘ello ‘ello
What’s going on?
Probably not Lord Lucan
if he comes at you
waving a truncheon –
his head a funny shape
because it has a helmet on,
it’s probably not Lord Lucan.

It’s probably not Lord Lucan…
…probably…It’s probably…
a policeman!  Better run.
Run run run run run

out the park
in the fog
after dark
past the man
with a dog
run run
run for home
Don’t tell Mum.

“Where’ve you been, son?”
– Nowhere!
“What’ve you been doing, son?”
– Nuthin!
Mum likes to chat.
– Don’t listen!

She says
“Well I’ve had a very interesting day.
You’ll never guess
who I met
on the bus –
front seat
Salvador Dali
and sitting in his lap
a haddock named Timothy.”


4 responses to “An adopted surrealist poem: ‘Upstairs’

  1. Greg White April 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    As ever with the Great Boltini, the printed word cannot properly convey what the man does in performance. He is a true genius, and I hope you get the chance to hear more of his work.

  2. Jimmy Andrex May 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Tony the Great Boltini is an unrecognised genius!

  3. wthirskgaskill June 5, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    And his collection has now been published. It is called ‘Narrow-ruled Feint with Margin’ (cue: theme to Twilight Zone).

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