GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Brett Evans lives, writes, and drinks in his native north Wales.
His favourite companion is centenarian, curmudgeon Jack Russell, Remi, although Brett has recently been adopted by a cat – Black Belt.
Brett is co-editor of poetry and prose journal Prole, his debut poetry pamphlet The Devil’s Tattoo was published by Indigo Dreams in 2015.
Cover image by Mark Sparx
138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
PUB: 25 JUNE 2018
Meet Sloth. Not so much an anti-hero as a weary, serial under-achiever. Sloth and the Art of Self-deprecation is a collection of poetry where deadly sin meets the crappery of modern living and popular culture - if, that is, Sloth can be bothered.
These poems are dedicated to all the sloths in this life – numbers of toes being irrelevant
"Proudly acidic and cynical in all the right places, Sloth and the Art of Self-deprecation is an assured and absorbing collection."
"A wonderfully debauched, entertainingly schizophrenic collection of wild highs and come-downs that woozily celebrates life and the music that is life, while retaining enough of its critical faculties to be wise and speak truth
to the great unwashed."
"Remarkably, gloriously, shitfaced-to-the-point-of-blackout free of any desire for what we used to call "bourgeois respectability." And if you think I mean by that anything resembling a lack of craft, humour, intelligence, or worthiness of your attention,
you, sir, are a douchebag."
Quincy R Lehr
Sloth on the Rocks
Sloth’s urine defiles
his canopy, far above
the dirt’s industry
where ants and beetles
busy themselves. Sloth could rise
should he dare to fall.
Sloth and the Art of Self-deprecation
Sloth on Fine Dining
Sloth’s favoured position for eating
is legs above head – not his own legs, of course –
and being the slothiest of sloths he’ll lunch
at the laziest of leisure; a real underachiever.
Accomplishing more than fool-sloths,
whose tongues are prized as mere limbs
obtaining tasteless leaves beyond their can’t be arsed
reach, Sloth revels in the rainforest-wet of his reward;
lapping up all he needs to nourish fruitless days.
And don’t be duped to think that starburst effect
cunted down thighs, up spine, out to tips of digits,
or any echoed cries from the canopy above enough
to lull Sloth into some nuzzled slumber. He’s more
than awake, face already tucked into his second course.
Sloth’s Panto Season
'It's behind you!' they yell, and Sloth knows
they roar the truth – it's all behind him.
Celebrity had been and gone, the fickle
public no longer cared on what day
of the week he shat.
The white-dressing-gowned portraits
in Hello! soiled by a keen-eyed reader
writing in to highlight that infamous
upside-down-Africa urine stain.
The much derided, ghost-written memoir
stripped and recycled; 'Pulped Fiction'
the tabloids mocked, and never gave weight
to publishing Sloth's quiet
'Oh no it isn't.'
Wild Bill’s Celestial Jazz
for Wild Bill Davison 1906-1989
'...no harder-driving, or more masculine, cornet
in the entire business.' – Eddie Condon
Born in Defiance (that's geographical as well as literal)
wailing b-flat into a life of lust and vice
that your appetites craved until the grave –
a bolshie enough bastard to take such a calling further.
And should such a place exist and you had entered there
via some loophole or celestial, administrative balls-up
(or maybe God called you to teach Joshua a thing or two)
then I'd fear for His angels: any with cocks
would be seduced into joining you on a frenzied bacchanal;
any in a frock best watch her tits and crotch.
No doubt angels are inclined to forgive. And so they should;
their brass would only sound sweeter fuelled by such ferocity.
And all the blessèd tapping their feet as your thunder
blew over your home. Wild Bill, they'd say. Defiant in death.
Sloth is in a tree of his own;
two-thirds his weight lolls in his hairy gut.
He will only descend to shit and bury his turds,
easy prey for those who condescend, resenting
Sloth’s days of decadence where no muscle is flexed
or put to work – he knows the wages of sin
is what we all get paid. Not quite as somnolent
as they’d like, it occurs to Sloth he couldn’t give a toss
for slurs by those who cannot see the irony
in looking up to him, frustrated by his apathy,
green in their envy. And in his coat of algae,
time for a nap, Sloth suspects
he may merely have dreamt them.
The Martini as Big as The Ritz
A mixing glass in which you could launch the Ark,
enough ice to reassure the polar bear,
so little vermouth to cause France to revolt,
and stir as vigorously to cause civil war.
That aromatic wine strain down the sink;
you want this guillotine-sharp. Enough gin
to make Hogarth sketch again,
Hemingway shudder, Roosevelt
and Churchill to shoulder each other,
Bogart to falter through a Faulkner script,
F. Scott Fitzgerald to admit that he’s pissed –
this night could never be tender.
Think The Raft of the Medusa when stirring again;
strain cold spirit, discard ice like the hopes of the pole
and bask in the bullshit that heroes only need gin
in frosted glass that shows no reflections,
and the art of self-deprecation.
Sloth and the Snake
for the Standing Rock Sioux
Sloth farts himself awake,
groans indescribably – deprived
of sleep as he already is; bickering
neighbours, yelps and yawps have stolen
Sloth’s beloved canopy of lullabies.
And Sloth knows he’s too simple
but this morning, even he picks
up on disturbances. Sloth’s shoulders
stiffen momentarily as strength
is mustered to reflect on the beauty
of all he can see, and tune into protest songs
beyond water cannon and rubber bullets.
The black snake is about to slide
across the wide Missouri – far away,
that rolling river – and it’s not
the ever mournful leaves
that spill onto Sloth’s once carefree cheeks.
Energy enough to chide Too simple
for this world, battling his eyelids
knowing dreamcatchers grasp
less than he does, Sloth feels fresh;
snatches the closest branch
as if it were a lance.