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He can hardly move
One of his greatest fears has materialised.
The transpired terror.
A foot pushes against a cheek;
Eyelid to bunion.
Left shoulder crushed like a crashed Cortina into a tight corner,
The spine into another.
Right knee in the most improbable of positions.

(I have no intention of divulging where one of his big toes ended up.)

He sometimes said (and would admit to no other)
I fear being pigeon-holed. It scratches at me from reclusive recesses, towering turrets in my head.”
As he tapped his tapering tonsure
An ancient panic etched into his forehead sketchily,
Like a child’s stick horse.
No, look closer, not a horse,
The terrifying spectre of a pony with just the one trick
Who may or may not be a mirage.

When fretting, conviction takes shape,
Whispering into his ear that he’ll be spotted and slotted,
Judged and then nudged,
Identified from a mile off thanks to his trademark royal wordiness
His Acrobatic Acres of Verbose Arias.
The Filigree Flourishes.
Sashays of Stylish Similes.
All filed neatly into an envelope emblazoned with;
‘Trite hackneyed tripe – dulls with familiarity –
Sell by date imminent.

So here he is,
Labelled and boxed.
He can’t squeeze his head
Out far enough to read the lettering,
And knows not if he wishes to.
Yet it says something I think he’d like after all.
Come a little closer and you can decipher the text.
The charismatic curling copperplate heralds;

‘Like no other.”

And he is most assuredly that.
But let’s keep the moniker between you and me ok?
Because it’s the fear that has him strive,
Transcend, surpass and outdo himself.
That dogs him like a rapacious vulture from the shadows day and night.
That feeds the perfectionist, the purist, the quibbler, on juicy tidbits of success,
Whilst flailing a harsh birch twig of perfection relentlessly,
Sharpening his quill again and again.
Tapping and typing in consternation as he fights off,
Evades, that ever decreasing whirlpool
Pulling him down to the dark finale he believes the law of diminishing returns decrees;
That the audience will tire of the trickery anon
And oust this wizard of Oz,
Pinning a particular piece of paper to his pensive back,
A placard branding him as his worst nightmare;
Old hat.

And most heinous of all, dull.

So we’ll keep him just there,
Teetering on the brink of brilliant madness
For all of eternity
Leaving me to lazily languish in his beautiful ballets of words,
To saturate myself softly in his

Keep shtum.