Guest poem submitted by Ian Barnett:
(Poem #1549) Health Fanatic
Around the block, against the clock: tick tock, tick tock, tick tock; running out of breath, running out of socks; rubber on the road; flippety flop; non-skid agility; chop chop, no time to hang about! Work out, health fanatic, work out. The crack of dawn, lifting weights; a tell-tale heart reverberates; high in polyunsaturates, low in polysaturates; a Duke of Edinburgh's award awaits. It's a man's life; he's a health fanatic; so was his wife. A one-man war against decay. Enjoys himself the hard way; allows himself a Mars a day. "How old am I? What do I weigh? Punch me there! Does it hurt? No way!" Running on the spot, don't get too hot; he's a health fanatic, that's why not. Peanut power; stay ahead, running through the traffic jam taking in the lead. Hyperactivity keeps him out of bed. Deep down he'd like to kick it in the head. They'll regret it when they're dead: there's more to life than fun; he's a health fanatic; he's got to run. Beans, greens and tangerines and low cholesterol margarines; his limbs are loose, his teeth are clean; he's a high octane fresh-air fiend. You've got to admit he's keen. What can you do but be impressed; he's a health fanatic. Give it a rest! Shadow-boxing; punch the wall; One-a-side football; "What's the score?" "One all." Could have been a copper; too small. Could have been a jockey; too tall. Knees up, knees up! Head the ball! Nervous energy makes him tick; he's a health fanatic. He makes you sick!
The poem's by the Mancunian punk poète maudit and has aged very well since it was penned back in the godforsaken days of Thatcherism. The Dr. Seuss duh simplicity of some lines set against tripping (as in 'tripping up') metrical asymmetries (his limbs are loose, his teeth are clean; / he's a high octane fresh-air fiend. / You've got to admit he's keen.) deliciously evoke post-modern man stumbling, choking and ultimately croaking through life and missing the point. This memento mori of our times has me, as I hope it has you, in stitches! Get it? Ian.