Still waiting to do a funny one but in the meantime and in case I don't make it by Monday here's these things. The first one is new.
Oh Lord doncha know it?
Cheers! For eleven years
I was as pissed as a poet,
parrot sick in The Vic,
frightened now to own it
how much skin was split.
On payday, come what may
I would have my say
talking to the walls in Tommy Ducks,
surveying knickers on the ceiling, among
somewhat less than appealing clientelle.
Meek as fuck ,oh so meek
in Peveril Of The Peak!
And singing? Lord did I sing,
midst the bling the blag and swag,
the sharp tongues, the razor blades.
Nothing quiets ,nothing fades.
Steaming, screaming mercy, Lord have mercy!
On the Ordsall estate, saving for grace,
boiling ,writhing, reeking, in The Kettle,
hard chaw lads from the flats,
uncool cats with baseball bats,
mental mettle tested, none found wanting,
safe for another pint.
Bluff and bluster
Bleep and Booster, blood and guts,
beside Robinson’s Timber yard, minus 5,
battered Bertie Blue Noses-
Salford Lads , red till dead!
Monday mourning reality dawning
early doors only for the hard of heart,
battle scars running deep, cheap?
Less than minimum wage pay
all the rage for those with more say,
more Salford keys in Salford Quays,
more of this life flying to sunny days.
12 pints by lunchtime
Inner city grit, multicultural grime,
a multitude of ways
to survive to fight
in the White Lion
Jesus, Mecca, and
The Withington Ale House
no composer supposes
like symphonied rainbows arced in blood,
never mind the deluge,
this was our flood.
Pool cues saved teeth from rotted,
Nick Lowe would love the sound
when people were potted
wearing Scarface disgrace in
(Flats now, holy cow!)
The misery was on tap,
Mad Mick was quick to try
I knew why he would try
to break my bones if I slipped
explained,in pained plained English
people from broken homes had nothing on me.
See? I kept the noose loose,
Nothing personal, even if it was.
He didn’t get it, while he got it,
in my drunken mind
easy after the first time
Hardly a crime punishable by the law
who can talk with a broken jaw?
So, rough justice don’t make a fuss
(Now go! Do one!) this
is how we live,
factory fodder five days a week,
which is odder, the weak, or the weekend?
And now I don’t sleep
a quivering coward,
And now I search the shadows,
afraid of the light, afraid of my life,
afraid of the ghosts.
that now, and now ,and now,
too little is too late,
and still I have to wait, I cower,
and I wait, I see, I seal,
my fate, my fate, my fate.
Inconspicuous in my absence,
eyes thumbed shut,
best-suited arms stiff by my side,
unable to reach the tasty snacks or
pour a pint down the parched gullet.
Deaf ears cannot hear how much they miss me,
on the rigor mortis scale- I’m ten,
even when young they said
I was ‘Dead-but-for-the-washing.’
Do I remember the last supper?
Butter on toast on Sunday,
before the mourning on monday,
the craic here now on Tuesday
I’ll be ashes by Wednesday.
Time’s still winding clocks and watches like clockwork,
there will be clean shirts at Easter,
roasting hot days in summer with
tar bubbles bursting for joy.
If you take a walk as far as the bridge,
or the canal , buy me a red lemonade
in a black glass in Gleesons’-
at least I was never the poor craythur with a choc ice,
trying to keep his teeth in.
(Ps for those outside Ireland, Translation of 'the poor craythur' = literally 'poor creature' but meaning more like ' poor old sod')
Published in The SHOp 31 Autumn Winter 2009
and stagger out again to be sure I have my wits.
What the hell have they done?
Is nothing sacred?
Is anything safe from their blandiose renaissance?
A curse on them whoever they are.
I barrel on to the Quays singing or talking to myself,
corpulent with drink and struggling
to re-inflate between bursts of song.
Filled with stupid elation
and fuelled on pints of stout,
I gaze wide-eyed and blowing,
at the new found beauty of herself,
Spanned by an arch the whiter shade of pale,
her waters are expressive fecund and inviting.
With undulating, warm, open arms of green
she calls to me in clamshells of desire.
Wanting to be smothered within
and bursting for a leak,
I express myself,
let fly the floodgates,
a stream of pee to the pea green below,
relief and satisfaction in equal measure.
They’ll never take the piss out of
(Published in The SHOp 13 Autumn /Winter 2003)
It’s up there in Nelly’s room, behind the wallpaper,
it’s in the rancid scraps that this mongrel
went to see a white coat about.
Left gnawing on my own bones,
I curse the pedigree poets,
the multifarious super models,
those alphas of adroitness that
trot out juicy cuts of honeyed ham
left right and centre, as smug
and as arrogant as my jealousies.
Feckit, there’s no meat here, but
a thousand wasted breaths
can soon be soothed
by a truly poetic manifestation-
the voluptuous blackening of a pint glass,
in a not too crowded bar in