Tiger Tim by Stephen Watt

In the sooty dusk, black guillemots glissade through the metalwork
of a shadowy construction site.
A violet artificial light skins the hospital alive,
manufactures an afterlife
where shuffling patients pirouette with muffled nurses.
A flutter of johnny gowns  dances
                through wards, all hairy arses
                and patchy, shaved checkerboards
while I gravitate into my crown of headphones
where the Tiger Tim show begins.

Friends are in short supply at this age
but the benevolent tone on the radio
engages, destroys the sickness
and replaces the medicine.
Tim’s talk show is made for children,
rescuing us from forced church visits to Carfin
where a faux-Lourdes grotto is in operation;
drowns out the arguments of parents
downstairs in the kitchen
where wisdom is a closed door – an absence of opinion.

In the successive years which pass
when dandelion heads
mimic the ghosts of wasps,
Tim’s voice is lost in the long-grass
outside the high flats and hospital wards.
Friends are in short supply at this age
and the radio rages, wages holy wars with suicide bombs,
switched off by agitation at all that is wrong.
We are left alone in this unsettled lateness, asking
what are you going to do after the Tiger’s gone?

Stephen Watt is the author of the poetry collections ‘Spit’ and ‘Optograms’. Stephen’s work has been published in Germany, USA, Mexico, Australia and the UK. Stephen has recently performed at the crime-writing festival Bloody Scotland and been appointed Dumbarton Football Club’s Poet-in-Residence.

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