De La Warr

I am here – thick-and-mixed
among middle class minions
who eye up the croissants
in the De La Warr Pavilion –
they discuss in great depth
the state of the nation
as they queue so politely
for the barista’s attention –
The winter light bounces
off the buffed bar surface
and my large mug of latte
warms me to their circus –
I leave via the shop –
where I eye the gift dirge –
my shifting behaviour
is verging on absurd –
Return me to boozers
with their beery truths –
avoid gentrification –
and all it consumes

#Guinness is God For Yer

I am – now – that Old Boy in the bar –
he who nurses an anchored pint –
who has time itself as a luxury
of sips every fifteen minutes –

those slow draws of his lifted Guinness
that drinking match of dark mass
and white-topped hair-on-head –
‘Youngsters take this tipple ironically’

Then the in-house mumbling alcoholic
stirs me from my reveries by my name
to ask about my illness – and Christmas –
both are twisting inside me – like candida

The quickened swill in my gut then blooms
to a weighty obligee to her seasonal beliefs –
and those of my degenerative stuff –
each then rinsed down by my cold stout

Bar Work

For P.

//Grown men bear-hug
in the cinema bar –
this town’s tough men –
they stand held-hard
//with doffed back pats –
almost softly-kissed –
after sunken fizzed beers
after curried fears –
//and the curled-hair girl
quick-checks her sly glance
in the double door glass
of the flung entrance
//That beautiful woman
on the other sunk sofa
before heading out
sinks a sobering soda
//and I’d walk her home
above staggered kerbs –
struggling – still holding –
her wine-tipped words

Weights

I thought Fuck It
and pulled in at the pub

I found the weight
of a heavy beer
more appealing
than dry dumbbells

here the men were dead

glued into stiff poses
by the LED screen
as Man City kicked badly
and missed crisps fell
from their mouths

In the morning I will pull
three hundred calories
for us all

Michael, Not Me

– Looking nice Michael,
been somewhere special?
– Funeral. In the bloody rain.
Two pints of bitter, froth flat,
stand alongside the boozers,
as they then chat about the showers,
long-passed, and bloody penguins.

One of them, not Michael,
has the look of Rupert Murdoch.
Pints are refilled, the urinal next –
it takes more visits these days.
– Michael, you dressed this well
last time you was wed.. hahaha..

Ceiling beams, once chiselled
by equally beery men,
prop the roof of the bar
and threaten the non-stooped:
the timbers are black-slapped in gloss,
they ooze a shine like ships’ tar.

Old age brings advantages,
and shrinkages and breakages.
A handshake, another drinker,
greeting Michael, not Mike (too old,
not Mick, too straight)
all to the hubbub, ice-chink,
bandit complaint, and clink
of glass and bar. Michael smiles.