Great Grandad Grandstand

I remember the things I learned
watching Grandstand on Saturday afternoons
at my Great Grandad’s house
like the rules of snooker, darts
and horse racing
how to pick a winning horse out the newspaper (look at the jockey)
sound like Woody the Woodpecker
how to use a mangle to dry out clothes
still steaming from the old washing machine
I found that snuff tobacco was minty
and cured a sniffle
that I preferred my squash diluted
and scotch eggs and ‘black bullets
are the food of kings
The most important thing
he taught me and many others
           – was kindness.

Although Grandstand Saturdays came to an end
I still keep what I learnt
sacred in my mind and heart
except the food
I eat that.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. A little letter to my Great Grandad who used to have me round when I was a kid.

Take It Easy

Paul

The Shows

We called the travelling funfair
“The Shows”
the same way our parents did
when they arrived in The Wick
late summer excitement
that smelled of hot sugared doughnuts, flowing diesel and damp trampled grass
the air was always a kaleidoscope
of flickering lightbulbs and brightly painted plywood
shrill screams of exhiliration could be heard over a mile away
layered over a techno soundtrack
thumping with the pulses of waltzer-spun teens
and kids riding the ghost train anticipating the supersoaker squirt on exit
sometimes I liked to play the bandits
tuppence to ten-pence a go
so nothing to lose really
the games were good to –
one night I hooked six banana-yellow ducks
and walked home with six goldfish
struggling to hold the punch balloon and pink-pillow candy floss in my other hand
it was a great time to be alive
amongst crowded smiles and double denim
spending my paper round and pocket money like fun was going out of fashion
and just the other day
I saw an internet flyer
“The Shows” are back this year
travelling up and down the coast
and although I’ll not see them
I can taste the air –

the flavour of excitement.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem and feel free to check out some of my other writing.

Take It Easy,

Paul

Pre-Dawn Swimming

As teenagers
we swam the river at 4 in the morning
the cold pink pre-dawn watched us flail
our underage drunken legs unsteady in the calm water
feeble attempts to wash away the taint
of cheap vodka, value cola and sleeping bag sourness

we were like calves
breaking away from the protection of our parents
arrogant and unwise to the world we thought we knew best
but even the young Shorthorns upstream had more sense than us
because they knew better than to bathe in others shit

I don’t know whose idea it was
for all of us to jump in fully clothed
probably Dave’s – he was partial to a plan
– and vomit
he was a puppet king of sorts
living in the shadow of the castle

we were a sight
walking the back lanes to drip dry
crumpled kids carrying crumpled tents and crushed up sleeping bags
stumbling home without words spoken
the only sound heard was the clanging of dragging pegs and poles
chittering out a slurred morse code that forces a gang of grins
a simple message
– ‘Same again next week’.




Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. I love hearing your comments and feedback.

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Take it easy,

Paul