Anywhere

Feel free to dismiss
The modern approach
I take to community space
Neighbourhoods weep
At my disinterest in
Wasting afternoons. People
I’m not acquainted with
Sharing local stories
Old wives tales of
Grandparents that never
Set foot outside a
5 mile radius till 1995
And that was only
To visit the new hospital
To die.
Forgive me, but the
Constant I seek is
Greater than the home
Or area I reside in
I hoped we would see
Eye to eye, but I’m
Just as closed off
In changing my view

Anywhere

Carving

Benches are stoic ever-presents
Tree surgeons come and go
Children’s hoppy drinks, grown
Men watch their dogs piss
Blow a smoke ring skyward
Listen to the distant doppler shift
The whoosh of speeding traffic
These lost evenings, spent drunk
On each other’s company
Giddy laughter, friendship as
Feeble as the daisies heads
Picked off one by one
Keen stencilers carve our names
With keys, a preservation of
The lack of responsibility
To anyone but ourselves

Carving

Amateur

It’s hard to tell once on
The train to Birmingham
Whether it changed anything
Seeing a multiracial society
Kids running across bustling streets
The sights and smells differ
From quiet, sterilised streets
Amateur gardeners knead out
The weeds around a small plot
Of land. I’m bored just watching
The intricate backbreaking toil
I could remove the signs from
School gates, take what disruption
I can get my hands upon
Lice crawling on bare skin
Escape, not yet an option

Amateur

Place

Your Dad’s fists didn’t
Stop her running her mouth
Cross parts of his anatomy
“Shut it”, he’d warn
Just another mother
Bearing a responsibility
To bring up his children
You might think a woman
Has a place, and her male
Friends are a threat to what
Little self-esteem you have left
Misunderstanding, that a woman
Can be more than just
A smiling observant.
Jealousy, and rage
Insecurity between the temple
Between providing a home
And growing a life of your own
Taking on the easier targets
Proposing to leave bruises
While she takes your name

Place

Beaches

At night, beaches wash away
Moon bathing students
Adults wearing sunglasses
Townies showing disrespect
To the calmness, to the quiet
Stopping at petrol stations
On dark, twisty country roads
Pissing regardless of foliage
Yelling at anyone walking
The sleepy town streets after 1am
Where bars close at eleven
Rolling up my jeans to the knee
I’m wading towards
France or Ireland
Geography hard to recall
After a skinful of lager
Light breaks through
Someone drives us home
But not before, we leave
Our Mark in the sand

Beaches

Local

It used to be no problem
To trick a bartender
Beating the identification parade
Appearing to be underage
Sitting under the heated beams
In pub gardens, around
One small soft drink
Rummaging for a fifty pence piece
To smash a few pool balls
Rip a few stitches
Before card machines
Bar brawls were the price
You’d pay for stepping on
Someone else’s toes
Spilling drinks, hoping
The karaoke machine
Would update its stale
Old book, as old as
Questionable bar snacks
Landlords hard as nails
Chained to their jobs
Locked in well past time

Local

Underpass

Crystals reflect off the flickering lights
Fat fingers roll over another paper
Another cold, dark winter evening
Nothing doing for teenagers
Except the sickly sweet smoke
Rising from below the road
Underpassé graffiti. “I woz ‘ere”
Small town tagging, not quite
The wit to make it onto talent shows
But these aren’t our words
We shield flames
With our cupped hands
Gather outside a solitary shop
Joke about sticking the place up
Boisterously demonstrate
Lacking amenities to pass time
Adults skulk past, step into their cars
We glimpse at our older selves
Give them a two fingered salute
As a parting gift

Underpass