X FACTOR SONNET

A poem by Jacqueline Saphra, noting how modern entertainment is often found within failure rather than success. Illustration by André Gottschalk.

We’re the sofa public, fingers kissing
power keys. We make our judgements quick
on sing and wheedle, glad it isn’t us
with jitters and bad microphone technique.
We watch for mouths that dry to dumbness,
lyrics stuttered out of synch, a dodgy dress.
Show us your failing breath, a smile to crack
under the lights. Some hold, some break.

You want to make your mothers cry, you ache
for fame, the paparazzi at your gates,
you want us to applaud this new success,
but we prefer to watch you fall, to see you hurt.
Glory’s boring; it’s your pain we can’t resist;
Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.



'X Factor Sonnet' was published in our 4th issue, The Modern Living Issue, which has now sold out. To ensure that you never miss a future issue of the print magazine, subscribe from just £10 a year.