Board Man by Claire Booker

We’re delighted to welcome Claire Booker back to the blog, this time with a piece selected by our second guest editor Jess Green. Jess says “I love subtlety of this poem (right down to its structure on the page) which presents a familiar image of the person with the advertising board. We’ve all seen those people and wondered how they manage to do that all day, how do they not keel over from boredom? The poem examines these thoughts in a powerful way and its simplicity gives the last line an even greater punch.”

Board Man
School   tipping-out  time:     wild shrieks, 
bodies heave and break,    buggies scythe 
through like dodgems.     Outside the 99p
Shop,  a human being   positions himself 
against  the railings.  His limbs are wood.      
His hands are rivets.  Beard full.  Anorak   
copious over dhoti.   Placard pinioned in   
his solar plexus  so the weight of the  big 
idea  won’t put his back  out:          BILL’S  
DINER     ALL    YOU   CAN    EAT  WINGS     
ON   SUNDAYS.                Human loophole  
in the bye-laws, your eyes are hazardous 
to our  indifference.               Perhaps you 
are dreaming of kite-flying.         Suicidal. 
Praying.   Performing a C-section  in your  
head.   Or perhaps      you are calculating 
the      inflationary          price of freedom.


Claire Booker, image by Jason Why

Claire Booker is a poet and playwright who lives in Brighton. Her debut pamphlet Later There Will Be Postcards is out with Green Bottle Press. Her poetry has appeared widely, including in Ambit, Magma, The Morning Star, Poetry News, Prole and Under the Radar. She blogs at

One thought on “Board Man by Claire Booker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s