Country Lanes

Mad Max offered me shares
Fifty-fifty in a gentlemens’ club
I could
Taste their wares – test their tits
was his opening roadside pitch

Girls ain’t the problem –
undergraduates aplenty –
it’s the bloody bouncers
with their qualifications
That’s now our problem

Max is missing some teeth
his breath stinks of dog food
Turn on your heel, Mike
and carry on along this lane
Strange men lurk in Hailsham


I have always suffered
a mild clumsiness –
just now – trying to read
that line back – aloud –
it got rooted in my mouth –
not stuck in my throat –
not in my swallowing –
that feared future loss –

but in the lip-and-tongue
place of speeches –
I now have to think
the form of the word
to make the shape
of its known weight –
to make it heard –
this is no deal I wish
as part of my illness –

I hear the precision
of the speech therapist –
his repeat of the exercises
which I had forsaken
until now – late in the day
as my words stick
like soft toffees and cake
among my loose teeth


Car Hire Story

“I do prefer travelling on my own,
She’s two hours early
for everything:
Had a lovely car, a Yaris;
I saw my model out there.

“This Yaris was fantastic,
had everything on it:
The kids Bluetoothed,
Leave it I’m driving
I don’t want it on! I said.

“Coming in to land,
landing atĀ five-fifteen,
through by six:
Hire car place not open
until eight in the morning!

“Had a coffee:
Couldn’t pick it up until 11:
They would call me, Have a coffee,
Already had fucking three!
No calls from them over five hours.

“But my son rang me,
See my number was working,
I said to the woman,
so they gave me a
hundred dollar discount.”