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Martin in the Wall by Mike Hickman

It’s a beige wall,


With a BBC logo in the corner,

And a window just over the reporter’s shoulder,

Where the outside news comes in,

From reporters in suits and ties,

Holding Busby-furred microphones,

As they stand outside 10 Downing Street,

And solicit vox pops from middle-aged businessmen in Parliament Square.

“Who cares?” is the usual response to the Ten o’clock News.

“What do they know, anyway?” is the follow-up.

Before the television is turned over

To some shiny-floored entertainment show

On the other side,

Possibly with dancing girls.

Definitely with dancing girls,

If it’s Dad watching.

If it’s Dad lamenting the waste of the licence fee

On “stuff that doesn’t matter,

‘cos the politicians do what they like, anyway,

So why bother us with any of it?”

It’s a beige wall,


With a BBC logo in the corner

And a window just over the reporter’s shoulder,

Where Martin himself sometimes appears,

To show off his toys,

To line them up on the bedspread,

To display his acquisitions to the audience,

To seek the vox pops on his second-hand Millennium Falcon with the cracked plastic hull,

To see if it is true that “no-one sodding cares” or that he “says quite enough as it is,”

Without talking to himself; without his mad fantasies.

This is why Martin has been sent to his room.

He ought to know that no-one needs to hear from him.

And anyone foolish to give him time,

Would be turned off by him “chuntering to himself”.

But he also knows that it doesn’t matter,

Because he’s seen them in front of that beige BBC News carpet wall,

Talking so freely to the camera,

As if there is someone out there listening,

As if you can say what you like,

As long as you’re on the TV.

So he is.


Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018's "Not So Funny Now" about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. Poetry and prose has been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and the Daily Drunk (amongst others!).

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