The Jam

Forty years ago
today
I knew boys who swapped
Tangerine Dream records
and others who spat punk

A comprehensive education
in a scrag end Surrey town
of smoke-rattled bike sheds

of wrong trousers and collars

of part formed love and loss

We all knew the girl who gave it
to the intelligent thug

she cried in maths and the bogs

Sex education still has no use

The Tin Roof

The tin top cottages
should be haunted

but the only ghost
is Hoogstraten’s

That man ripped the roof
off one propped home

and the adjoining one
was then left for him

Now stand the brick twins

with no tiles or grace

torn for Hoogstraten
and his resting place

No Dance

We had no dance record –
no undulated score
to offer a vinyl track
to our lost time
of looking back —

The dog lies untouched –
her stroke mislaid
like a forgot chorus
of a heightened itch —

I broke the news
at O-one hundred
with shipping news
and ‘Sailing By’

and your phone died
a battery death
as if
we could recharge


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On Luxford

The old boys’ bench
affords a wide view
of Luxford Fields –
of trees to the north

Here is my basecamp
on the ascent
over difficult terrain
of root-split tarmac

Dog walkers and kid strollers
criss-cross the scuff –
taking turns to shout
and to chase

Behind me shoppers steer
between tight spaces
of white lines –
UP TO THREE HOURS

Two boys on bikes gob
and then dare each other –
on their brakeless machines –
to ride the Tesco steps


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