How Simon Armitage Stole Christmas

It was a perfectly pleasant winter’s evening that could have been warmer, sure, but was tolerable enough, and Simon Armitage hated that, because he is awful. “I’d rather be doing anything than writing poetry,” bellowed Simon Armitage from his Cordoban leather sofa in front of a roaring fire fueled by quality books by better writers inside a giant mansion in Hertfordshire he’d purchased from the inexplicable retail successes of his own work, “I really really hate poetry. It’s really the only explanation for my actions.” He placed a sound boot between the third and fourth ribs of one of his loyal kitten slaves, who dragged Heaney’s translation of Beowulf onto the billowing flames, becoming badly singed in the process. “CURSE YOU, VILE CUR!” Simon Armitage screamed at the blackened, weeping, hitherto adorable baby cat, “now I’ll need to buy more kitten butlers with the money I’ve made from my illegal diamond mines, which I also have.”

Suddenly, a brilliant light filled the room. It was me. I was the light. I floated in the middle of the room, looking kind of angelic, but in a more badass way than that. And truly Simon Armitage was afraid, and he should have been, because he was about to get his. He threw kitten upon kitten at my feet, screeching “take them instead of me” in a little girly voice. Just as suddenly, he ran out of kittens and threw up his hands in penitence. “Forgive me, underachieving online critic who’s only writing this because of long term unemployment and is dying a little inside with every freshly-typed word, like five hundred little miracles imploding inside his heart. I knew not what I did.” Except he totally did know, he was lying. “You’re right, I am. I was popular and talentless and decided to squeeze out a cleveland steamer of a collection of short stories all over the nation’s literary chest, none of which exhibited any sign of warmth or good grace or built on any of the themes accumulated throughout creating the growing impression that you’ve been cornered at a party by a member of the local stand up comedy society who discovered at college that surrealism is a perfect excuse to circumvent emotional complexity and social analysis, and then I became really aware of the flaws in my own work, and told you about them.”

Then it struck me that all off this was a complete waste of time, that if Simon Armitage would always be terrible, even when he dressed up a short story collection as a book of poetry, then sarcastic reviews would be also; then I used a semicolon. Next I used the wings that I had to fly away and do something worthwhile, stop wasting the precious years of my youth and get a job.

Tune in next time for Derek Walcott, who is good!


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