Categories
Poetry

Sports Mixture & The Sun

I was 11 years old
buying the Sun
on behalf of my Dad
anticipating
50p worth of sports mixture
with the change

a boy
i recognised
my sister’s age
7 years old
trying to buy
20 Silk Cut and 2 litres Cider
on behalf of his Dad
struggling
under the weight
of expectation

a man
40-ish years old
trying to provide
for his family of 6
a newsagent
eager
to please his patrons
to be welcomed
into the arms of the community
his journey long
from Bangladesh to Britain
via marriage and military service
looking a blend of bemusement and sadness
at the boy trying to buy
cigarettes and alcohol
who he turns away from his counter

a man
50-ish years old
reeking of addiction
to tabs and cheap booze
storming the shop
firing slurred slow
deliberate insults
and asking
do you know who i am
irked by the response of
yes a thug and a bad father, we dont sell alcohol and tobacco to children
it was then I witnessed
racism first hand
shock absorbed
in my young brain
stood like a hostage
the tirade continued
the threat of a firebomb
to the newsagent
and his family
the smell eventually leaving
when he couldn’t achieve his demands

me, a boy of 11
buying the Sun
and 50p worth of sports mixture
with the change
apologising
for someone else’s actions
that I didn’t understand
receiving a wink and a sad smile
I ran home
to deliver the newspaper
and the news of what happened
to my Dad

My Dad
then in his mid-30’s
a butcher by trade
the sight of violence and blood
known to him
sat stoically on the sofa
listening to my recap of events
crinkling the pages
between fingers
stained with ink of
yesterday’s news
providing words of wisdom
be kind to those who deserve your kindness scum always rises, but it always ends up skimmed and discarded, remember that, learn how to recognise and skim out hatred and you’ll be alright
followed by
can I have a couple of sports mixture
I gave him the bag.

————-

This poem is based on a shocking morning trip to the Newsagent just around the corner from our house.

Most of the time there was a real togetherness in our council estate, but on rare occasions, a sinister underbelly came to the fore.

Thanks for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts,

Paul

Categories
Poetry

Roar

we are all mauled lions
hunting to regain our pride
questioning whether we can be heard
because often none roar back
when we are loudest in our pain
we only hear the drum  of shame on the wind
and feel the stinging reek of guilt
from those we ran with in the good times
fearless
when the sky was light blue, coral and ochre
but when the darkness descends
in jet, midnight and fog
they are scared to acknowledge us
scared they will be tainted
scared their roars won’t be answered
yet to realise
we are all mauled lions.