Photography © Chad Parenteau


La Belle Dame Sans Merci Writes Back

Oh what can ail thee, knight at arms
Still loitering ‘round my yard
I told you once before my boy
You’re trying way too hard.

Your anguished grunts, your soft-boy charm,
Sure fooled me for a while
But calling girls your “faery child”
Won’t win you many smiles.

We don’t want garlands for our heads
Or flowery handcuffs – that’s just weird,
And maybe rein the staring in
If you don’t want to get speared.

We’d much prefer the kind of guy
Who’s chilled out, funny, smart and sweet,
And doesn’t think that beetroot
Doused in “honey” is a treat.

And as for all this talk of “song”
And claims I said “I love thee true”
I think you’ll find that fantasy
Belongs only to you.

Yes, fibbing knight, so pale of cheek
Who I’ve heard dreamt of “kisses four,”
I hope you told your writer friends
Of how I kicked you out the door?

I whooped your creepy incel arse
Into that freezing sedgeless lake
Where you saw pasty ghost men?
Dear, let me fix your mistake.

No ghosts were they you ditsy fool
But rippling mirrors of yourself,
Which seemed to multiply because
You’d been knocked senseless by your “elf.”

So get! you crazy stalker knight,
Unless you want to feel round two.
I’ve told you way too many times,
I’m not the girl for you.

Take your lying lyre far away.
Go! Piss off with your poet’s pipe!
I’ve run out of ways to say this mate
You’re really not my type.


Pete Lewis: “I grew up in Cardiff, before moving to Oxford to study English. I am currently completing a master’s degree in nineteenth century literature. My research interests center around issues of gender and sexuality, and their intersection with the politics of empire. In my spare time I enjoy walks, crosswords, chess games and other activities that make me sound prematurely old-aged.”

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine.