Friday Poem – The Death of Doc Emmett Brown in Back to the Future


This week’s poem comes from Jonathan Edwards’ Costa Award-winning debut collection, My Family and Other Superheroes.

My Family and Other Superheroes introduces a vibrant and unique new voice from Wales. The superheroes in question are a motley crew. Evel Knievel, Sophia Loren, Ian Rush, Marty McFly, a bicycling nun and a recalcitrant hippo – all leap from these pages and jostle for position, alongside valleys mams, dads and bamps, described with great warmth. Other poems focus on the crammed terraces and abandoned high streets where a working-class and Welsh nationalist politics is hammered out. This is a post-industrial valleys upbringing re-imagined through the prism of pop culture and surrealism. If the author’s subjects have something in common with RS Thomas, or even Terry Street-era Douglas Dunn, his technique and approach owe at least as much to contemporary American poets like James Tate and David Wojahn.

The Death of Doc Emmett Brown in Back to the Future

I sit here in the darkness with my father,
slurping Pepsi, passing popcorn round.
The Libyans come fast around the corner,

pump Doc Brown with automatic fire.
My feet are dangling, inches from the ground.
I sit here in the darkness with my father,

as Marty hits 88 miles an hour,
goes back to ’55, to warn Doc Brown.
The Libyans come fast around the corner,

pump Doc Brown with automatic fire:
he gets up, dusts his bulletproof vest down.
I sit here in the darkness with my father,

who starts to gently snore. Now time goes quicker:
the cinema’s knocked down, moved out of town;
the Libyans come fast around the corner

on DVD. My boy asks for Transformers
instead as, from the wall, his bamp looks down.
I sit here in the darkness with my father.
The Libyans come fast around the corner. 

Order My Family and Other Superheroes from our website.

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