For Bjorn’s Prompt at Real Toads – Dorogoy droogs, come clockwork the orange. He asks us to write in the slang of the book or another slang. One of my advisors for my Masters of Fine Arts managed to get me an in at the Bodleian Library at Oxford to further my research on Oscar Wilde (who was head boy) and the late Victorian Times. I discovered a language – Polari – a ravishing mixture of Romani, London slang, backslang, rhyming slang, sailor slang, the language of costers, horsetraders, circus performers, and thieves’ cant. It later included some Yiddish and became the language of gay men in the 1960’s. It is said Oscar Wilde spoke Polari but there is no definitive proof. It is a fascinating language used by the oppressed and lower classes in England, especially when homosexuality was illegal. Here is my short poem in Polari. it is about two friends sharing a warm night by the fire on a cold winter’s night.

“Where the fuck did Monday go?” David Bowie, The Girl Loves Me

Welcome to my humble lattie –
Heat your dolly eek by the fire.
Card yer clobbers,
Sit and bevvy a whiskey or dooey.
My bijou fren
Lau your head on my lap
We’ll viddy and laugh
Chupper at the chestnut tree.
Let us warmer
My fren my bijou fren
Lavs fail in snow
Lavs lala
Don’t mogue
Mince to the chestnut tree
put on the pig and pot show

The Notes: lattie – cottage, room, or home dolly – good looking eek – ecaf (back slang) or abbreviated eek
card yer clobbers – change or take off your clothes bijou – small or valued lau – lay viddy – watch tv chupper at the Chestnut Tree – drink/eat Chestnut Tree – the Bar in 1984 when the protagonist realized her had no more feelings for his love lalalala – laughs lavs – word mogue – change mince – walk affectedly
put on the pig and pot show – get drunk, let it all out

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