Slim Jim

I knew a guy once, let's call him Slim Jim,

and all the good things never happened to him:

his dad was a junkie and his mum, she had cancer

and his sister shagged teachers to search for the answers;

mugged twice in one week and picked on at school

he never kissed girls and never felt cool.


Jim always transformed when we went to the shows,

he sang aloud in the streets, put a ring through his nose

and when put in the limelight of sunshine and grass

he'd talk to strangers and juggle and laugh.


He said something was up, and I knew it was big

when he didn't turn up to the Subhumans gig.

The days became weeks and the weeks became years

until one time he called me at midnight in tears.


Now, don't get me wrong, Jim was always quite slim,

but next time we met he was skeletally thin

and good old Jim, who was always so tall,

all of a sudden looked incredibly small.

His hair grew lank, untouched for weeks,

with fingernails long and yellow like teeth.


And since he started taking the smack

he'd been having more of those panic attacks.

His limbs became shaky and his voice became soft

and his eyes spun like records but the needle was off.


He was on the outside and I invited him in

but he wanted to hide, to escape his own skin;

I still often wonder what happened to Jim

since that was the last time I heard from him.


Kira Swales