Early morning in Mafeking Street

I may have been dead or at last breath,
you came skipping up from the alley
short bare legs, dirt on your knees.

I saw you stop, a thrupenny jubbly,
in your hand colder then I was,
the blood on my face jam thick.

I was wrenching a punctured fifth wheel
when the axle broke, pitching the trailer
on me as straw bales toppled like Lego bricks.

I saw you laugh at the policeman too fat
trying to run like a keystone cop,
as he blew his whistle in the empty street.

I could hear the ring of the ambulance,
you danced to until you saw the man
jump out with big sticks and a blanket.

I watched you stand, jubbly untouched
as they bent over me then you turned
and ran to play and so did I.

Reach Poetry

 

If they are so hard up why aren’t their kids skinny?

My granddad would put the Mail
on the beeswaxed table,
and reach for his pipe to point his opinions.

‘Anyone can afford a bit of veg.’
I’d murmur ‘ Cheap vegetables
starve the poor of Africa’

Grandma would sigh,
straighten her housecoat
and dust the mantel-piece clock.

‘He’s right you know, in our day,
a man did a day’s work and then
got out in the garden to dig.’

They looked blankly at my joke
about the Archers’
High Rise market garden.

Then pipe wagging, he’d say,
‘In my day the streets were our playground.’

‘Yes but what about the cars’ I’d say
and they’d agree
and say it’s a disgrace they had cars.

Granddad would then
blow a kiss at Grandma,
who’d giggle
and tell him to stop being so daft.

I’d reach for the Kipling’s cherry cakes
and ask after cousin Betty.

 

Reach Poetry

Even if just the roof, you could catch hunger

The gutter was blocked again,
she said it was always the birds.
Pigeons were the worse,
gulls she excused as trailer trash
but war birds,
who fought
for God and Country,
it wasn’t right she said.
I told her it wasn’t pigeons,
she gave a boiled sweet laugh
and made me pastrami on rye.

Published in Eunoia Review

While waiting for toast

In​ each little square,
​sits​ silverware and white
plates ​with ​a single
flower of ​grey plastic​.​
​You and I sit to eat
a breakfast of fried
splendour and toasted
plenty with butter
served with trained
smiles and you wait
sipping coffee that
​I​ wouldn’t scrub
floors with at home.
Next to you, two
men flop over seats
holding cups like toys
from play houses,
with rag doll fingers.
One sighs, It’s all
about the angle’
and the other just
looks into his cup.

Published in The Lake