1908: On Brighton Pier

Spun sat – a gamble of co-ordinates
[wrist-rolls a cruelty]/ We steer silent
journeys – then instant guffaws as if
this pier screams – Roll-up & ride! A

bob – Ogle our fat fubsy lady! Once I
saw a mermaid [her lustrous breasts
were lifted by a sea lion] & I paid for
a closer look – via a penny telescope

A lifeboat landed an inert man – we
were spat at – Turn away from it all –
he was oily [slumped] with whiskers
& stared eyes [I paid him 2 pennies]

I walked from our empty family car –
from silence – a sat-nav directed us
here – don’t look – it will show more
rides to turn me on to bewilderment

[one last time – I wish] as Ivor reads
my tarot cards in his caravan up on
Brighton Pier – I see a mermaid & a
drowning – hindsight equals a quid

these days – we shove our modern
florins – no Britannias rub in purses
before being placed in an arcade’s
agape slot – drop a ten pence coin

then nine more to find less fortune
under a hundred cheap songs – our
greed sees gold in lit-orange rows
of one-armed bandits – we’ll go on

& climb aboard their doubtful ghost
train – a slam & shunt of mechanics
on a loop of terror – fondles & feels
were taken here by mods & rockers

until such pleasures waned/ I turn a
pound telescope back on to us – we
are now ghosts as we point phones
at rides [we long forgot how to feel]

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