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
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
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.
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.