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The long black car with the bumper sticker truism

June 14, 2016



Halfway through a different life

I asked ‘What would make me better?

‘Dark would’ said the answer measling

dodgy Braille on a pill packet.

I tried to believe that I was being guided


by a Thunderbird

sent from the other side (ITV).

It felt like a crowd, not solo,

even though I saw him, just he.

I could sense the eyes of a smoker’s exile huddle,

as if they were watching me wait at a taxi rank

for the cab they wanted after stubbing Saturday out.

Lairy and animal-print pelted, the drunks

criss-crossed the Pelican towards me.

The smell of a pink-less hen night,

their nail bar glossies still lacquered intact,

maybe for me?

The sky-blue & yellow uniform of the puppet was by now

bobbing away, down the road

like a tennis ball bouncing along an empty sewer.

I looked up to the glowering sky and saw a huge black cross

twisting, not tangling,

his strings as he turned once more to face me.

I caught up with him just as he said


we are going up the ramp of a multi-storey car park you can't yet see.

Beware, once we arrive, I may have to leave you.

It is the domain of the unstable; you’ll fit right in.

The council are pulling the slipshod seventies edifice down.

Think of it as a Friday afternoon Corbusier

designed on a pack of Senior Service with a bent compass

and a Joe Coral pencil.

He encouraged me to walk with him as he extolled the virtues

of asbestos, in his wobbly jawed opinion, ‘the miracle ingredient in any roofing situation.’

There's no telling people.

And he certainly hadn't told me.

He left me in the stairwell,

His dap-dap gait unable to venture

across the jagged gash of piss and fag-butts

I treated as a threshold.

Four steps up, she was there -

as beautiful as any mother.

The rectangle of light from her phone

an illumination of her human face.

She barely seemed to notice as I watched,

then literally suddenly, she lifted her screen

to use the torch function.

‘Can you hold this for me? She said;

her phone a sudden épée.

‘Find me a fucking vein will you?

Back and forth,

the beam 20th Century Foxed her skin,

which as it happened, was as pocked and cratered

as any Miner’s paw.

‘I'll take it from here’, she said as two bitten fingers

hitched up tatty denim shorts,

‘easy does it, come to Mummy.'

As she injected into her groin.

‘Got any skins?’

I was looking at the flowers cable tied to the bannister

dead real ones and dead plastic ones.

For Katie ‘Who loved this car park’ according to the biro tribute

engraved falteringly across a letter shaped rip of cardboard.

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