Talking


I just talk too much I talk too much
never shut up if you cut me in half
with a spade I’d continue to talk
for up to an hour from both ends
I’m more send than receive have never
had an unexpressed thought in my life
the path behind me is littered
with the hind legs of donkeys
and those times when you should just
shut up that’s when I talk even more
let it tumble out no matter how incriminating
there would be no need to tie me
to a chair and slap a rubber hose
into the palm of your hand for I will sing
like a canary at the politest enquiry,
tell you more about myself then you
ever wanted to know give up
my own children just for a chat in fact
I can guarantee the most hardened torturer
will soon be sewing up my mouth
to stop me telling him what I know
but I shall only rip my mouth open
spit out my broken teeth and carry on talking
through my tattered bleeding lips
and what I don’t know I don’t let worry me
for I never let lack of knowledge
get in the way of giving an opinion
why should I I’ve a habit of repeating myself
I’ve a habit of repeating myself
that was pretty obvious right
but you try talking non-stop and not
saying something pretty obvious
along the way and if you’re one
of those quiet people that
just looks then you’re just asking
for it without actually asking
if you see what I mean but
you can’t just stand and look
at each other right and if you’re
not going to say something
then I have to simple as that
simple as that so its your own fault
don’t glaze over when I’m talking
to you if you want this poem to stop
sometime in the next hour then
for God’s sake do something useful
go and fetch a spade.

ABOUT THE POEM: Talking and thinking are what we do most in our lives. But unlike thinking, talking involves a listener; the desire to talk implicitly requires a willingness to listen too. But we all know those people with whom talking and listening fall out of balance, and the tyrannical talker’s mindset is realised here in Martin Figura’s marvellous monologue, which we enter and then find that we can never leave.

Figura is playing here with the very idea of a lyric poem—a heightened, controlled delivery of the feelings and worldview of an “I”, approximating introspection—and turning perception into prattle, the promise of poetic connection into poetic kidnapping. No punctuation is made available to the reader; after all, punctuation symbolises pauses, and there are none here. In real life, his talker’s imperialism of selfhood would be unbearable; here, though, both released and contained by poetic art, it serves as a brilliant comic riff on one of humankind’s greatest needs: to talk.

Martin Figura is a poet, photographer and performance artist based in Norwich, England. His books of verse include Whistle and Boring The Arse Off Young People. This winter he will be lecturing and performing in Delhi as part of a British Council-sponsored event.

Source: Caravan Magazine, 1st August, 2012

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