Show Business

saggy white gorillas
in ten thousand dollar suits, choking
submission: movie careers hung
on meat hooks
beaten, sliced, sold in penthouses;
worn like cheap thongs and thigh high boots,

red carpets lit with flash bulbs, strapless
Stella McCartneys,
sips of champagne flute
adulation, stretched limousines
and private planes.

entertain us, they
moan at the girl
with green eyes, as she
writes receipts
for herself
again.

A whiter house

Imagine there’s a painting
adorning the wall of some president’s master bedroom. It hangs
beneath a mirrored ceiling where his wife
(lucky her) gets to watch his pumping arse wobble like a pale hairy jelly.
Let’s say it sits above a dozen nicotine silver wigs
on a perfect chesterfield dresser,
and maybe it gazes down, in lurid grey and gold:
a grinning Adolf Hitler
riding a merry go round of charging marble stallions,
one leather glove tightly gripping the reigns
the other waving at scores
of muscular blonde women
and heroic dead eyed men with lantern
jaws.

Let’s just say this now and get it out in the open,
before it’s too late.

Books you should have read

clad in a shapeless woollen jumper,
handing out paper bags
for 2nd hand books. she stumbles
over small talk and fumbles for
petty cash

waiting at the sign
for the no 9 bus, she twists
her umbrella strap tighter
and tighter, watching lights
welcome families home,
listening for the bark of a dog

some nights she mixes an extra glass of wine with gin
and lets her neighbour fuck her with his fat cock.
she won’t make a sound except when he starts
and sometimes when he ends,
but she likes it best when he leaves, creeping across the hall
when he thinks she’s asleep

other nights she calls her mother
and lets her babble
about holidays in the past
and the rising price of eggs.
her tone of voice sickens her,
as she considers safe ways
to dispose of a corpse

most days she’s so bored
she cries in the shower.
gritting her teeth
to restrain a scream
and trying to drown herself

she thinks she might be in love
with the book seller down the street.
he sells his books
in an alleyway. his scraggy hair
and tobacco breath
keeps customers away
but he gives books to people
he likes

he left her a beaten copy of ‘Papillion’ on the counter
but she hasn’t made time to read it

only once have they said more than three words,
but she cut them off.
she worries he might smoke heroin
or slap women when he’s drunk
or worse, be one of those bohemians
who vote conservative

 

Hard Times

he thinks he remembers a time
before she chopped off his balls
and pickled them in a jar
with mustard seeds
and chilli oil,

somewhere a sense
of not feeling sleazy
or desperate
only wildly energetic
and wet,

vague recollections of
dirty promises,
black lingerie and blow jobs,
fuck me boots and thongs,
or were they just dreams

of a Billy bollock teenager
standing to attention, ready
for action—mountains of man-
sized tissues hiding under his bed…

Maybe…

Don’t remember many nights in ’97.
Most washed away in Southern Comfort
and shitty house music. But I can recall
hungover mornings with Richard and Judy,

lying listless on a shapeless sofa
surrounded by fag-ash footprints
on their march towards sunrise,

washing down Marlboro breakfasts
with left over cans and Walkers crisps
as Gallagher sang about living forever,

stockpiles of Loaded magazines crowding
the bathroom, Begbie’s wild glaring,
Kelly Brook blowing kisses. Our manuals
on how to live badly.

Fractured years

All you heartless bastards,
what have you done?

housing estates spat
out for wasted generations;
a life sentence of
grey brick cells
festering in long cemetery grass

endless dead end roads lined by
garbage dump back yards,
playgrounds for fat black rats
and thin toad children

streets ripped empty of life
darkened shop fronts,
their faded names and broken graffiti glass,
those peeling Brexit stickers.
envelopes scattered on filthy floors

these are our fractured years
where we stare starry eyed and blind
as they stalk through the night,
like a black dogs, looking to fuck
something bleeding
and alone

Bristol Circus

what sordid mind

conceived this pit?

contagious office blocks stand sentinel, stare down
where night and day and subway meet:

walls scrawled with epithet,
they stole our freedom to hope
beds of filthy coats, picked at by rats.
lines of soles worn thin,
nowhere to go but inside

somewhere, a child’s cries are drowned.

through blood soaked tunnels
voices rise, hoarse with discontent,
slurred in heroin mist, they seek
to be alone

human beings pass quickly
with fixed stares, sidestep
this collapsed world,
where a city’s scarred come to bleed,

a bohemian congregation
who reached the gates of heaven

and found them locked.

In Bed

Nightly struggle to calm
racing heart muscle, throat choked
with desperate words. It’s pathetic
how much I want you to touch me.
Our tepid wrangle for affection: I despise
my clumsy reactions, like a dog
dripping long drool on lounge carpet.
Yet you dismiss me so easily,
waving away attention
with a yawning swat of your book.

A mourner

Empty pews yawn grey light.

The dead walk on before us,
they are waiting in God’s house in comfort.

Dark oak surrounds his solitary mourner,
prim in tweed and brown shoes,
she listens to echoed words fade.

And at last threads begin to loosen: slowly at first,
then faster, frayed fabric unravels years of slurred apologies.
Still she bows her head, shoulders set rigid by loss,
her lungs ache for unspoiled air.