By Jan Noble
Date Posted: Monday, 23 June 2008
The poet, Jan Noble studied Fine Art at Canterbury, but spoken, sung and printed words became his principal fascination. Once the drummer and vocalist for the band Monkey Island, Jan now struts out with The Cesarians. He has published a number of ‘chapbooks’ and released a series of ‘spoken word’ CDs. He has given performances across Europe and he has held poetry workshops in a range of venues including schools, psychiatric wards and prisons. Jan is currently writer in residence at Core Arts, the Hackney based charity which promotes events for users of the mental health services. He has recently edited a collection of their work ‘ Not Your Average Type’. More examples of his work can be found at www.myspace.com/jannoble Jan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Jan’s poems in this edition of the Journal inhabit a world of impoverished communities, troubled families, and childhood deprived of love.
Steven Karamonopolis was one of those weird kids.
At six he quizzed his mother
about what happened, what really happened
to the cat when it died.
Sobbing, she locked herself in the bedroom
didn’t come out for a long time.
His dad stood in the front garden
wearing a vest, smoking a cigarette
watching the bin men
across the road
toss refuse sacks into the truck.
Age nine he broke Housman’s nose,
Housman was twelve
and already had a girl of fourteen pregnant.
Karamow had the same look on him
like when the ambulance came for his mother
like his dads face on the porch that morning.
Some say he did it cos Hausman called his dad a wog
or his mum was a mental
and so was he
but I knew.
I heard Hausman brag
about his brother who worked up the tip
about what they’d find, dead pets and stuff
and what they’d do
really sick stuff.
You’re not supposed to think about those things
you just don’t think about them
But Steven was a weird kid.
He never stopped thinking.
So when they handcuffed him up the drive
it was no real surprise.
I thought he looked just like his dad used to look
then I saw him smile
a smile he’d saved all these years
for those who wax their cars on Saturdays
for those who drive their kids home from football
for those who are crippled
with pensions, mortgages, insurance
for those who water their lawns
for Simon, Amanda, for Sue and Bob
for Hausman where ever he was
and for me I suppose
but especially for the policeman
especially for the policeman
who is carefully loading
tagged bin sacks
into the back of a van