Way back in aught-aught I wrote a piece inspired by an ex-colleague – no names, no pack drill – who used to come out with what I thought at the time were malapropisms, but which, thanks to Radio 4, I now know to be egg corns. The guy really did talk about a Chevrolet bull, about horses starved to the point of emancipation, and he really did once tell me – “Carve that on my epithet.” So, with affection, here’s the piece again.
Mr Malaprop reports back
It was one of those nights,
close to the bitching hour,
when goolies sprint
along the country lanes
frightening the whores.
I saw one with a Spanish mane,
in the field next to a Chevrolet bull,
skinny to the point of emancipation,
winnowing with fear, a horse cream
renting the air, eyes rolling, a site for sore ears.
By the shore, the moon shone
in gibbon’s phase, silver light zimmered
on the sea, calm as a milk pond.
I came upon Rasputum, the mad monkey
who terrorised Russia’s last catarrh.
He drew his sword – a raper to the last –
and fired the foetal shot. His pistil went off
like a damp squid, spilling my crimson icon,
ending my loaf.
“I’m hard. Kiss me!”
Carve that on my epithet.