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Pac Man’s Last Stand - Andrew Philip

21st July 2015

Pac Man’s Last Stand

We funt him dossin in a piss-scented close
oot the back o a defunct arcade,
his canary coupon dulled fae dool and stour
tae say naething o the bargain booze he swallied
fae a bottle happed in a broun paper poke.

He telt us his wife had run aff wi Super Mario.
Noo, he wis dinin on the dustbins, dwinin awa
for want o a pouer pill and a braw sheenie cherry;
in a constant, feartie, blootered dwam
o Inky, Binky, Pinky and even Clyde closin in

for the kill. Haurdly a shaddae o his auld sel.
The worst o it wis, every time he yawned
his gub wid gant that wee tait wider till it seemed
he’d fauld in on hissel and the air aroun him growe
shairp wi they twa wirds ilka gamer dreids.

Naiturally, we taen him hame wi’s and fed him up
on spare fou stops, Morellos and tartrazine.
Man, ye shuid hae seen thon appetite!
The trouble stairted wi a toattie bite taen out
the sofa. Afore lang, the living room was a guddle

o sawdust, torn swatches and chowed wires. I’m gey feart
he’ll soon hae eaten us oot o hous and hauld.
And that’s whaur youse come in. A puckle wee ghosties
dinnae fleg me, but yon yellae golach’s anither story.
The doors and windaes is aw locked. He’ll no suspect a thing.

This poem by Andrew Philip appears in Red Squirrel’s themed anthology Double Bill: poems inspired by popular culture. Nearly 200 of the most active poets in Scotland and throughout the UK were included. Andrew Philip’s poem is the only one in the anthology in Scots.
It is satisfying to see a poem in Scots treated as an equal in a book full of English poems, and to know that it will be read throughout the larger country. The poems were paired by name sounds, and this one is paired with a poem about Jeremy Paxman. You could hardly get a bigger contrast, and the juxtaposition itself makes a sly dig at the TV impresario. The poem is also an example of widening the subject matter of poetry in Scots, something I have always felt is very valuable to the language.
A hilarious narrative, whether or not the game of Pac Man has ever taken hold on a computer near you.