Poetry Corner: "Go HAM Young Man"


Our friend Lucian Mattison, Official Always Cheating Poet Laureate, has submitted another poem for your enjoyment. (Read his previous installment Zlatan's 69 Touches in the Box.) Lucian is a real-life West Ham fan, and his new poem explores the dark and the light therein. Lucian is also a real-life poet and you can learn more about his work or buy his debut collection Peregrine Nation at his website.

Go HAM Young Man
by Lucian Mattison


Did I imagine it or does every team?

A summer of murmurs from the rumor

mill, little hopes carried skyward and dumped 

elsewhere in the stream—but these signings,


weren't we going somewhere—or was it always 

going horizontal, across, mid-table 

finish? And it's now almost Christmas 

and I'll take horizontal 100 times over 


down again, Andy like Ashton, team's poster child 

of Englishmen falling short, ambition weak 

in the knees. But a week is enough time that I forget

just how angry I was the previous one. So


Slav is gone. Match preview and I'm beaming

again, lineups posted and the familiar sinking feeling

like watching a child push the knife blade 

through an apple towards his hand. Frost 


on the window, carafe of coffee, it's tradition

like managerial recycling, Moyes, Big Sam,

Pardew, anyone but someone new.

And yet with the match whistle, everyone 


is pardoned. I am with X in the technical area.

Why’s Antonio warming the bench? 

The one man going hard as a motherfucker

on the field every match, but we opt


for Ayew, legs two plumb lines, bald head

down, reading the grass, holding the ball

too long. I'll spare the details, but we all know

how this ends. The TV is off after Rooney's


midfield swat skips and billows the net. It feels 

like deja vu because it is, just in different colors. 

I've seen all of this disappointment before 

so what's changing? Or is the bottom


of the table, drunk under it, precisely where to be?

At the bar again this week. Here’s to a month

of losses. O seasons, years, how many decades

running? I answer, lads, we've been thirsty.