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He can hardly move.
One of his greatest fears materialised . . .
The transpired terror.
A foot afoot pushes against a cheek,
Eyelid slid to bunion,
Left shoulder crushed like a crashed Cortina
Into a tight corner,
Spine fused into another,
Right knee in the most improbable of positions.
I have no intention of divulging where a big toe ends up.

On occasion he said (though would admit to no other),
‘I fear being pigeonholed.
It scratches at me from reverberant recesses,
towering turrets in my head.’
As he tapped his tapering tonsure
With a leaden pencilling-in of concerns,
An ancient panic etched into his forehead sketchily,
Like a child’s stick horse.
No, look closer, not a horse, but . . . (hold those nags)
The terrifying spectre of a pony with just one trick,
One who may, or may not, be a mirage, an Arkle debacle.

When fretting, conviction takes shape,
Whispering into his ear that he’ll be spotted and slotted,
Begrudged then judged and 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 such cavilling filed neatly into an ill-starred manilla envelope,
Emblazoned upon which sits the proclamation:
‘Trite, hackneyed tripe — dulls with familiarity —
Sell-by date expired, prolix lapsed.’

So there he is, parcelled-up in obloquy is he,
Labelled, stamped-upon and boxed.
He can’t squeeze his hobbled and harangued head
Out far enough to read the capital lettering
(Which he doubts, in any case, to be flattering)
Stencilled stiffly upon the foreboding lid,
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 it strictly entre-nous, okay?
As it’s fear that has our pensive penman strive,
(Though black dogs hound him from cranial shadows.)
For fear feeds perfection, the purist of quibbler, on juicy tidbits of success,
Whilst flailing a harsh birch twig of censure relentlessly,
Sharpening both quill and will
In that ever-decreasing whirlpool vortex of text,
Dragging him towards a finale — one the Law of Diminishing Returns decrees.
Whereupon audiences tire of trickery anon and oust this Wizard of Oz,
Pinning a pointed poster to his pensive back —
A placard branding him as the most abhorrent of possible personages:

Predictable. Boring. Tiring. Old hat.
And most heinous of all . . . Dull.
So we’ll keep him just there, shall we?
Teetering on the brink of brilliant madness
For however long an eternity takes,
Leaving us lazing in a beautifully balletic
Syntax set to saturate sacred souls
Softly within

[So seal and zip censorious lips . . . with ellipses . . .]