Falmer

It is drizzle

almost

the fine rainfall which is fixing
as the mass of coats and hoods
pass around the stadium
in an unholy circled attendance
at Saturday’s Mecca

Pies and chips

washed by beer

and kids swigging at bottles

now weaned from their mothers
to attend this mainly male church

Here to learn the hymns
and repeated mantras
passed down

No matter

West Pier

It may have been the 1970s

it may have been Brighton

but no one can confirm
when my father saved a pier

I was railing high
navigating the gaps in the planks
with a slender fear

a cheap thrill
as you walked above the sea

and below

under the bolted timber

waves hypnotised the iron work

the tang of salt over candyfloss
was taken up like Friars Balm
through your head

As we passed the rides Dad saw smoke

a daft smoulder rising up from the deck
and we stopped

bent

to look
for timbers

for them burning

but it was just a cigarette butt
still curling

PC883

as he was at work

called out to an attendant
and the fag was drowned
with a red bucket marked ‘FIRE’

The House my Father Built

I am still weighted by the dream
of a house being built
by my long-dead father

it wasn’t him but some stand-in

and details in the windows
where colour was etched to capture
the hills and homes of deer
so that the past could be lined up
with the correct view and angle

a small leak in the high roof
and paint trod into carpet
and timber cutting dust remained

and an improbable kitchen
which we mentioned lightly
and was likened to a shooting range

he had been a good shot