Monday, January 22, 2007

Visiting Raymond

As I queue again at the end of the M67
where the traffic never sleeps,
crawl down to Glossop
then across the top of the world,
I’m thinking, what do I say this time?

As the road angel on the dash flashes red,
chirps out its electronic warnings to me
my mind tunnels deep
beyond the black and the brakelights,
I’m thinking, what do I say this time?

As I roll down the bends from Buxton
to Chatsworth, ninety miles behind me,
everyone else going home this Friday night,
or queueing in their chippy,
or buying their lottery tickets,
or getting a few cans in,
I’m thinking, what don’t I say this time?

Just after he was flown home
I first drove the drive, the nurse said
‘you’d better say goodbye, don’t get many as bad as this,’
but that time I didn’t have to say anything:
he couldn’t hear me anyway.

Now, months later, he hears, he talks. Well,
a version of him talks, like a circuit
that keeps shorting out as he switches
and flips in butterfly conversation
that trails off into sleep.

The good leg stretches out,
the good arm wraps itself around him
and the good eye closes.
I pat the blanket.

And as he sleeps
I siphon off from the decades,
from school to now,
the best of times where
we’ve talked, drunk, played cards,
fished, loved our women,
where nothing could change the way we were.

And as he sleeps
I recount the litany of codewords and gestures,
the bridge bids of a relationship
I smell the superglue that welds us
I see how we enjoyed our difference down the years.

And as he sleeps
my headlights slice back
through this High Peak dark,
the guys on their mobiles all ask
how it went this time and between us
we agree: that’s what I’ll say next time,
that’s what I won’t mention next time.

And as he sleeps
we all go back to our chips
and our lottery and our cans
and these undisabled lives of ours.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Billy Boast & The Loose-Eyed Lady: A Panegyric To The Post-Avant.

At the South Coast hog roast Billy Boast nearly toast
overdosed on glasnost saw his ghost past the post
last post lamp post bed post evening post
evening all waterfall basketball chainsaw

from the Albert Halls to Arkansas
done it all know it all
walktall bigsmall
freefall at the paintball
veg stall curved ball up against the Wailing Wall
better give his Mum a call no more jobs at Vauxhall
nothing on the eight ball pockets full of bugger all

he’s getting over it
wait a bit
lowered kit
halfwit
double knit armpit faglit unfit
look at her working it looking fit dress slit:
‘Take me to your bedsit? Biscuit? Risk it? Rarebit? Pomfrit?
Twiglet? Niblet? Titbit? Wotsit? Wiggle it a little bit?’

Well she’s a pronoun
on the town
an up and down
green pound
a bodyhound lost and found nightly crowned queen of sound
home fore he can turn around drinks downed hands bound
half an hour of hare and hound helps herself to folding brown

Well he couldn’t unwind it was a real bind
he felt undermined and columbined
redefined red-lined Rick Steined Patsy Klined
woodbined colourblind never mind the bacon rind
porcupined grapevined bottom lined and much maligned.

Well he was mystified
mortified
multiplied
stultified
red-eyed pork-pied legs wide crucified
panfried setaside powerglide penicide
disapplied undenied tightly tied and offside.