THE FIRST TIME WE WENT TO THE FOOTIE
That first time we went to the footie.
Singing names we didn’t know, chanting
words we had never heard. In between
passes we twattled like a nest of chicks.
A bottle of coke in the back pocket, a fiver
for a burger and chips. The away end sang,
but we never caught a word. Our ears
to tuned to what we were spitting into the air.
Someone bought a programme, rolled it up
like we didn’t want the day to escape our memory.
Our minds were in the interlunation, as we
grabbed thoughts to take us to the next stage.
The skies we had dreamt of were coming
now. Stars we had sent to the unknown,
and hoped they would open up adulthood
between the hours of school and home.
THE WAY HE WAS
He was an overall wearer.
On busy days oil stains became a map
of rivers in his palm. Paint, like
cherry tree petals, stained his trousers.
There were tools in cupboards,
nails in old butter tubs, washers
in brylcreem containers.
Jars glassed up bits and bobs.
Saws hung on hooks keeping
their shaved memories while hammers
punched away anything that stayed
within them. Sometimes his dip
into his past felt like he was reliving
a previous life. There were days
when the sun beamed from him,
and others when clouds hung over.
But he always opened the newspaper
the same way, with index finger
and thumb in the top corners.
When I last saw him, the hospital bed
was pulling his skin into the mattress.