The Poor Waltz, by Amy Kean


Russell Brand reflects on his poor youth:
Me effervescent soul emerged entrenched in proletariat ideals,
masticating on a wooden spoon much as a wench would devour a phallus.
Must have ridden out his mum like Che Guervara,
Zooming leather-clad, womb to destitution, bunking the train
(As revolutionaries do) from that small town called Nothing, Grays, Essex.
Timberwolf boy, plucked from working class roots
Wired and overgrown, like the artful dodger fucked a dandelion.
Social servitude marries his slim wrists to the arms of a throne.
I sloughed the reptilian skins of poverty via Italia Conti, and
avenged the parasitic traps by blagging meself a court jester gig on MTV
Pauper to pop princess, on that train from Nothing.


I was born in the same town as Russell Brand. It was alright.
Had fish fingers for tea and pirate videos for birthdays,
Earned a degree and did a Dick Whittington to the big city
With limited success, and I didn’t marry a pop princess.
But never came from nothing; the ashes of my father’s failure.
The slimy grasp of hardship, beggary and impecuniousness.


Thanking God every night that Nothing exists
Russell Brand waltzes the stage in his multicoloured dreamcoat
made from fives and tens and twenties and fifties.
A sexy paradox shagging the air, writhing in bewildering words.
Because how wonderful, how terrible
To say, you came from Nothing.


— Published 17th of January 2019


About Amy Kean 

Amy Charlotte Kean is an advertising strategist, lecturer and writer from Essex. Her stories, rants, reviews and poems can be found on The Guardian, Disclaimer, Shots, Litro, Barren and the Drum. She was Ink, Sweat & Tears’ Poet of the Month in September 2018 and her first book, The Little Girl Who Gave Zero F*cks is out now, published with Unbound.