Sunday, 28 February 2016

Fish from Vickerstaff's

Christmas Eve. The delivery bays at the Bull Ring,
and we're picking fish from Vickerstaff's.
Past the butcher's stalls, turkeys and geese swinging,
and on to Vickerstaff's to collect the carp.
Then a crate of apples, a crate of oranges,
a crate of mandarins and back to the van.
At home, setting the carp in jelly,
and stretching the pastry thin for pierogi,
and taking the twist of paper out of the bottle.
The kitchen hot and steamy and too crowded,
excitement and expectation mixed with things thrown and shouting,
the percolator bubbling on the sideboard.
Out in the back passage the mandarins cold to the touch,
taking one, two, pulling the peel off,
citrussy smells on my fingertips.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Baby's Lost

Search and search through the weeds
No baby. Baby's lost.
The paddling pool's in the river,
And no baby in the pool.
Only a pair of goggles
Floating in the water.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Whether to Laugh or Cry

Hands in prayer
Ready to receive
Like a child.
Lick the ground
If that's what's required.
Toe the line,
Take what's coming.
Hope springs eternal.
I don't know whether
To laugh or cry.
Wires quiver with power,
We can know eternity,
Little by little,
Sheltering in the trees.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Somewhere Between

Somewhere between madness and alienation
There are campfires burning in a clearing,
And children singing
And jumping out of windows,
Somewhere there are barracks,
And the children up to their knees in mud,
And a bath once a fortnight
Shared between two,
And this is not madness
And not alienation
But somewhere between the two.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Frightened Horse

I watch you strumming, long fingers, white hands,
and I hear the hoofbeats of a frightened horse.
In Paris, you held my hand tight
as we walked back through silent streets.
Now you're too old for hand holding.
I ask you if you hear the frightened horse.
"What horse?" you say.
"I'm not singing about a horse."

Sent from my iPhone

We were young

Slot machines in the basement, and
old men drinking at the bar,
a coin box telephone on the wall
beside the toilets. Everything dowdy,
paper beer mats on the tables,
and people smoking everywhere.
This was the 70's and no one really cared
what you wore, or where you lived,
or how you were getting home tonight.
Half a lager and lime, or a pint of cider,
or maybe a rum and black. And we'd
play fight our way up the street to the bus,
and stop at the chipper for a portion of chips
to share between us all. And no one cared
or thought about the future, there was no future,
this was life, and we were young, and life was good.