Categories
Poetry

Weekends At The Club

Quid in the jukebox
The Jam, Bowie, Queen, Elvis –
Presley – not Costello

grass-green baize
torn and twisted in places
twenty pence a shot
free on Saturday afternoon
when it’s a fiver-a-man tournament
winner takes all
no chalk for the cues though

footy on the telly screens
piracy definitely
we don’t complain
it’s the best pint in town
and they do pork scratchings

they’ve got a bloke
who does runs to the bookies
backs himself to return the betslip
in under 10 minutes
he gets a drink either way

the old gagdies tell tales
of when they worked the shipyards
or some down the pits
they shake your hands every time
theirs brittle –
scarred with hard graft
and union strikes

sometimes it gets rowdy
when the domino crowds in
accusations of cheating
to win a 2 quid pot
it soon settles down
like the best pint in town.

*******

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, inspired by weekends and evenings spent in the social club in my hometown, which are an important part of the North, unfortunately declining in recent years. If you get the chance, pay one a visit, and sign up with them depending on their membership requirements.

Take it easy,

Paul

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

Atoms

It’s important
to remember
the same atoms
that felt
silent rapturous awe
at the big bang
stared with intense curiosity
at the dawn of time
that bathed
in the liquid gold
of countless stars
embraced the purity
of moons
and appreciate
the endlessly evolving
elegance of the cosmos
the same atoms
that built
and inspired
the greatest minds
and put words into quill, ink & pen
the same atoms
that are architects
and demolishers
are in all of us
and everything.

We are all
the planets and their chaos
the stars and their fury
the moons and their melancholy
we are universal
we are infinite
we may feel different
but really
we are all the same
atoms.