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THE FAKE LOVE

 

Our eyes were not meant for each

other. Neither the touch of skin.

We gave petals to flowers

not seeing they fell as soon as we

walked away.

 

I never think of you, but sometimes

hear your voice. Maybe I should

have let you climb out of my mind.

Instead of throwing you into the pit

where you mine yourself out

 

when I sleep.

 

 

 

 

THE TUESDAY NIGHT MATCH

 

Floodlights beam fake sunlight

as we head to the game

on a Tuesday night.

Beer dams our stomachs

turns the volume up up in our

throats, thickens forearms.

 

Players sprint sprints on wet

grass and we fold tickets

into our back pockets.

Some people wear scarves,

bobble hats, chew gum.

 

We put swear words into

the air like loose change

in charity boxes. Our arms

become bones on the bar rests,

and spines lean at a pouring

kettle angle.

 

The whistle ignites and everything

we have known is passed around

by football boots.

 

 

 

A DAY OUT

 

We went there in our teenage

car. Unfurled school years

on the motorway.

 

The sea stayed with us

as we made our way along

to the coast.

 

Arcade machines, fairground

rides, took the voices that

sprang from pre-adult throats.

 

Wallets we had as Christmas

presents emptied out loose talk.

 

We took in the salty air

brought it home with us

then slept under the stars

 

felt our footprints in

the sand being washed away.

 

 

 

 

THE WIND OUTSIDE

 

There’s a wind outside

blowing branches with its tongue.

 

I sit here in wait

until the coffin comes then I

can put it away.

 

I’ll throw in what the wind

kept, empty my head

by throwing it all away.

 

For years the wind has blown

everything we’ve said

 

maybe we will share a word

when he’s dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A CUP OF TEA

 

I hear his shoes on the tarmac

a wooden leg thud. His head

horse hung, hair swept of youth

he feeds me his summer smile.

 

We sit listening to the boiling

kettle. My tongue asks a question

and he wakes from standby.

 

We fill the room with syllable,

a wood with lumberjacks

breaking away the darkness.

 

Filling our thoughts for tomorrow

and what we leave in here

may never grow again.

 

 

 

 

MRS WILLIAMS

 

She wore Monday’s shoes on a weekend

brought tea to her parishioners

spoke to grave stones on leaving

their names fluttering into her footsteps.

 

On fete days her voice brought out the wind

in the trees, made the birds sing a song.

In her pocket stood the bible and her hands

picked out the passages her heart needed.

 

She said ‘Hello’ at night then laid her hair

on his pillow. Kept a shirt he had worn

under the quilt heard his breath in her dreams

and she engraved his name in the headboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

 

 

 

 

THE NEIGHBOUR BEHIND THE TREE

 

He walked with a carrying a bag

of spuds lean. He had a beard then

lost it, but grew it again last summer.

 

He never said much gazed at you

with detective eyes. Sometimes he

wore a hat though in rain he left

 

it in the house. His feet too small

for his garden he smoked in the car

created fog taken from the hills.

 

I knew his name but never used it.

So I waited for him to move first then I

scurried past hoping he never saw me.

 

 

 

THE ICE CREAM VAN DAYS

 

When the ice cream van came

we ran out of the house in shorts.

His engine throbbed woke up

the street. We held small coins

 

passed them to him through

a gap in his van. He leaned out

to check prices his hair balancing

on his skull. Cones stood upside down

 

reached for the ceiling. Parents smoked

in the queue. A slosh machine

gave colours school didn’t show us.

Our hands eager to hold, tongues

 

longed to lick. Lips rubbed against

each other. Neighbours used their

mouths to talk. We sat on walls

with frozen gums, felt a part of something

 

smiled at people twice our age.

 

 

 

MR NOWHERE MAN

 

He wore a cigarette in his mouth

had fish lips in the pub, rolled

notes in the toilet.

 

His jeans were long, made his

legs look short. He never closed

his top button on his shirt.

 

Some said he slept with his

feet dangling out the window.

Crates of beer sat in corners

 

of his shed. He worked many

hours during the week but

none on the weekend.

 

His wife threw him out when he

told her he hadn’t cheated.

She knew his tongue mixed up

 

words to please his brain.

In winter he had a coat that

stayed on a door hook.

 

In summer he sat on pub benches

infused his body with cider

grew apples in his dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A STREET WE PLAYED IN

 

There was a street we played in

ran up and down it to wake it up.

Neighbours looked through netting

watched our bones grow.

 

The ball bounced into gardens

we tapped latches, pushed wooden

frames, jumped locked gates.

Ran away from snappy dogs

 

ignored shouting grannies

or hid from frowning grandfathers.

Nodded to friends parents. We ate

bananas in summer, pot noodles

 

in winter. Our tongues filled our

mouths, licked the sky. Shouted

words that fell down neighbours

chimney pots. Sometimes in autumn

 

we would collect conkers keep

them in our pockets to help us grow.