Bad Boy Poet, by Scott Manley Hadley, is a collection of free form poetry that explores, amongst other things: breakup, breakdown, drug taking and the modern dating scene. There are many references to sex and poo but also the challenge of watching parents aging. The poems are confessional in style and content, with descriptions graphic and, at times, soul searching. The reader will gain a picture of a young man as he descends mentally towards a suicide attempt and then climbs out the other side to reach a form of personal acceptance.
The first few entries cover the narrator’s breakup with his long-term girlfriend. The fallout from this appears to be a great deal of sex, often drug fuelled, solo and with strangers. The narrator is trying to work out what he wants and now feels free to try new experiences, hooking up with like minded people via dating apps.
He also contemplates the nature of poo and the satisfaction to be found in defecation.
“A good shit
Is better than
A bad shag”
He ponders the important questions.
“Do androids do electric shits?”
His poems about his parents are poignant and insightful.
“I wish I could watch Dante’s Peak before bed every night.
I watched it with my mum, cold,
Sat in a house that was once my home
But now nurses encroaching death.
I wish the action of Dante’s Peak was the scariest thing
I saw when visiting my parents.
But it’s not.”
His dog gets regular mentions, something good that came out of his broken relationship.
“When it rains
My dog looks at me
Like I’ve made it happen on purpose
Just to piss him off.”
In time he meets someone and forms a new relationship. This is described across many graphic sexual encounters. He also comes to a better acceptance of himself.
Regular readers of my reviews will know that I find descriptions of sex acts disturbing. I am aware that I am not alone in this but also that, presumably, there are many people who enjoy reading such things or writers would not include them so readily. Whilst I didn’t enjoy the images put into my head from the many poems that include sex acts, they did provide an education as to how some people choose to live. They are honest accounts of encounters, not there purely for titillation.
I was also intrigued by the commentary on ‘literary boys’ who use their reading matter in an attempt to impress. From the authors listed, my credentials would likely fall short of the narrator’s standards – but I’m okay with this.
As I have mentioned, I didn’t enjoy all the imagery but did appreciate the honesty of these poems. The writing flows with an impressive energy whether describing sex, concern about self or parents, or the more mundane.
The collection is bookended with pictures of the author in a state of undress. The poems are likewise stripped of carapace, and that is their strength.
Bad Boy Poet is published by Open Pen.