Kevin was sharing a house with two friends
And his brother William, or Willie, who tends
To laugh at a lot of the things that he sees,
From strawberry yoghurt to his uncle's knees.
He laughed at a clown on the run down a street,
Chased by ten puppies who wanted his feet.
Forty-eight hours after seeing this sight
Willie still laughed. Even at night
He laughed in his sleep at the clown in his dreams
While some of his housemates invented grand schemes
To have him deported to El Salvador.
They pictured him waking on some foreign shore.
At times they believed that his laugh would soon cease.
They cherished the prospect of silence and peace.
They no longer wished they were like Helen Keller.
The laughter slowed down like an airplane propeller
After the airplane has ground to a halt,
A time for bad fliers to cheer and exalt.
The housemates were happy as he taxied in,
Till his laughter engine was switched on again.
They asked Mrs. Burt from next door for a plan
To turn Willie into a humourless man,
And thus end the misery that his laughter brought.
She was well known for the speed of her thought.
Her sister could cycle so fast that her feet
Were just a red blur as she sped down the street.
But she often crashed at a wall or a gate,
And Mrs. Burt's schemes met a similar fate.
For Willie she came up with this simple scheme:
The laughter would reach its full-stop in a scream.
Just like with hiccups, the laughter would end
With terror inspired by a brother or friend.
Their job was made easy by Willie's belief
In spirits and ghosts and a cat-like soul thief,
And his groundless fear that his ears would fall off.
He holds them when he has to sneeze or to cough.
He sleeps wearing ear muffs to keep them in place.
His ears feel at home at the sides of his face.
His housemates used slides to create a fake ghost
Who terrified Willie with this mocking boast:
"I'll steal both your ears and I'll wear them at balls."
The scream was so loud that it shook the four walls.
His housemates felt joy at the end of his laugh
Until they began to discover their gaffe.
He couldn't stop screaming and they couldn't sleep.
They tried counting thousands of scared screaming sheep.
They used muffs and ear plugs. They drank many beers.
They wouldn't have minded if they lost their ears.
They needed to get Willie laughing once more,
And wipe out the fearful expression he wore.
They showed him their knees and they said words like 'plop'.
But none of these things brought the scream to a stop.
Mrs. Birdwanger, who moved like a hen,
Would sing like a duck soaked in tonic and gin.
They called her around and they asked her to sing,
But even her song about eggs failed to bring
The crease of a smile to his fear-covered face.
Her voice swiftly switched from soprano to bass,
And brought a brief smile, a slight twitch to his mouth.
The screaming went on and made Kevin run out.
Kevin's complete lack of sleep made him lose
His mental well-being. It loosened some screws.
He thought there were nuts in his milk chocolate head.
Some tasted odd but they'd keep him well fed.
He picked them from out of his ears and his nose.
He squeezed them from spots. He feared that the crows
Would peck out the nuts if they got half a chance,
So he had to harvest the nuts in advance.
This is what made Willie laugh once again.
The scream slowly faded and then a faint grin
Was followed by laughter, a warm aural balm.
It put them to sleep with its feeling of calm.
Colin needs excitement
Or his brain will start to stall.
Meeting other people
Is a bore without a brawl.
Boredom overcomes him
When he hears some people speak.
He can barely bear them
When they talk about their week.
He can hardly hear them
When his ears are full of wax.
He loves to instigate a fight
By stating awkward facts,
Facts like 'You're so stupid
You would lose a game of chess
To a stupid woodland animal's
Unpleasant woodland mess'.
His cousin's birthday party
Was ignited by a fight
That he started with some whiskey
And a laser-guided slight
About his cousin's girlfriend
And her theories on the stars.
She thinks that they control us,
As do aliens on Mars.
The violence soon erupted
And the aliens danced with glee.
Colin was delighted.
Only cowards chose to flee.
He fought a punch drunk punk
Who muttered French and sang a song.
In between the punches
Colin smiled and sang along.
He likes being hit by women
Who would try to kill a fly,
But they'd fail to even injure it
And they would start to cry.
He hates being hit by women
Who would hurt a tall giraffe.
His cousin's girlfriend's hook was good.
His 'sorry' made her laugh.
Every time she punched he saw
A word like 'Pow!' or 'Zap!'.
He told her he was lying down
To take a little nap.
Once he met a woman
Who was so impaired by drink
That she tried to break his head off.
She had somehow come to think
That he's a little plastic man
Upon a wedding cake,
A tiny smiling groom,
A man she'd like to break.
At the time of this misfortune
He was holding hands with Clare,
A woman in a wedding dress,
With petals in her hair.
I was walking through the park
On a crooked concrete path
When I came across a duck
Who was following a cat.
They were walking round in circles
In their own peculiar dance,
A sight I found hypnotic
And I slipped into a trance.
When the black cat paused to rest
The duck lay down as well.
How long I had been standing there
I simply couldn't tell.
I only felt confusion.
I didn't have a clue
Why I held a woman's handbag
And what I then should do.
Holding women's handbags
Didn't suit my latest look,
And I feared that I would surely be
Accused of being a crook.
I considered many options
But they all seemed weak or wrong.
I stood there with the handbag
Till a woman came along.
She smiled and said, "You found it!"
I nodded and said 'yes'.
I got the feeling I had helped
A damsel in distress.
She said her bag was stolen
When she dropped her guard to blink.
She practically insisted
She'd repay me with a drink.
The duck and cat were sleeping
When we exited the park.
We ended up conversing
In a pub till after dark.
We arranged to meet again
On the following afternoon.
We went to feed the duck.
Beneath a summer moon
We walked around in circles
As we talked for many hours.
Those lazy days seemed charmed.
I brought her luck and flowers.
She gave me gifts as well,
Like a plastic four-leaf clover.
When she bought a Venus fly trap
I could tell those days were over.
The future we'd envisioned
As a couple wouldn't be.
If she can't accept my flies
Then she's not the one for me.
When I'm all alone
I tell myself my theories
On why the old folk moan
In a crumbling pub called Cleary's,
And why the young folk fight
In the supermarket car park,
Why bite marks on bark might
Be a tree's peculiar birth mark,
Or why dead flies and bees
Seem to end up on the shelf.
I always feel at ease
When I'm talking to myself.
It's like reading from a text
That I've read ten times before.
I know what's coming next.
Dance, robot. Dance.
I spend some time rehearsing
Meeting people that I know,
But when we are conversing
I can't tell where this will go.
They'll talk about their feelings
And their failings and their god,
And things they wrote on ceilings
After smoking something odd.
Some say to God above
They would dearly love to be Spock.
Since I fell in love
My mind has been ha! peacock.
I met her yesterday.
Her presence made me sweat.
I was terrified I'd say
Something I would soon regret,
A line to make her glare.
I was right to feel this dread.
When I said I liked her hair
She said, "No, that's my head."