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(26 May 1963 / Marsden, West Yorkshire)

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I Say I Say I Say

Anyone here had a go at themselves
for a laugh? Anyone opened their wrists
with a blade in the bath? Those in the dark
at the back, listen hard. Those at the front
in the know, those of us who have, hands up,
let's show that inch of lacerated skin
between the forearm and the fist. Let's tell it
like it is: strong drink, a crimson tidemark
round the tub, a yard of lint, white towels
washed a dozen times, still pink. Tough luck.
A passion then for watches, bangles, cuffs.
A likely story: you were lashed by brambles
picking berries from the woods. Come clean, come good,
repeat with me the punch line 'Just like blood'
when those at the back rush forward to say
how a little love goes a long long long way.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003


Read poems about / on: pink, passion, dark

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Comments about this poem (The Tyre by Simon Armitage )

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  • Liliana ~el (12/11/2013 5:28:00 AM)

    Whoah This is spectacularly good
    Very deep, intense, dark in the spotlight...
    Feels unreal yet I know this is the reality of so many
    Ends almost like rap
    Nice flow

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Paul Brookes (12/11/2013 3:36:00 AM)

    Simon Armitage is a top British poet and one of my favourites and here he's done it again with the swiftness of the slashing razor and the precision of a scalpel.

  • Alyssa Miller (4/6/2013 12:45:00 AM)

    I get it. Your words spoke to my heart. So I understood. If that's not the ultimate hope and sign of success for every poet's poem, then I don't know what is.

    As for the comment below, well... whatever. You've done a wonderful thing. And I thank you for it. ;)

  • David Mclansky (12/11/2012 9:10:00 AM)

    Make not a virtue of suicide
    The pain of life is something to be borne,
    It can be blunted and desperately denied
    Even on the Cross when we're shorn of pride

  • Justin Gonzalez (12/11/2012 4:12:00 AM)

    It's always a great feeling when the first poem you read from a poet you have never heard of before simply blows your mind. That is what just happened when I read this one.

  • Jaley Willingham (8/18/2012 4:20:00 AM)

    This is amazing. I have to say, I teared up while reading it. Very powerful words.

  • Rory Briggs (12/4/2009 9:41:00 AM)

    Powerful. Very clever.

  • David Brooke (6/14/2007 3:03:00 PM)

    Very moving poem. Representing what Armitage does, providing alot of provocative thoughts in a very short coherent way.

  • Linzi Rogerson (1/4/2005 1:01:00 PM)

    I think that this poem is brilliant. It really puts in perspective how different people see the world. It makes me think about how many people are suffering in silence? It places many different interpretations in my mind. I think this is my favourite peom by Simon, a truly moving piece.

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