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’ Balsam
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

PC 883 -as he was at work –
called out to an attendant
and the fag was drowned
with a red bucket –
marked ‘FIRE’

 

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The House my Father Built

I am still weighted by the dream
of a house being built
by my long-dead father –
but it wasn’t him – but some stand-in –
and the details in the windows –
where colour was etched to capture
the hills and home 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 the carpet
and cut timber remained
and an improbable kitchen –
which we mentioned lightly –
and was likened to a shooting range –
he had been a good shot


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