They do a five item breakfast
with your MOT here.
It’s on but they don’t listen
to The Joker, to The Sweet,
to Soft Cell, to Hanging on the Telephone,
to Debbie Gibson; the younger guy,
he wouldn’t just want to date
your little sister, he’d want to marry
her. The man in the makeshift cabin
is polishing off a fromage frais.
Ghosts of 1982
This football match from the dim past
attached itself to some videotape,
a barnacle fed on former times,
shows a long forgotten winter day,
the mud mixed with snow,
the sheer effort of an action-replay.
Round the back of the takeaway,
a Mum takes a kid to kung fu,
I’m deaf, a lamppost glares,
intervenes in all the decades
and here you are, empty handed
but for Chop Suey
in a crunchy paper bag.
I sit in our courtesy car
with deranged, unfeasible hair.
Your friend, the custody diversion officer,
drinks in a pub just over there.
Looking for Linda
We argue over Prince songs
and don’t admit to Wham.
Hue and Cry, The Wee Papa Girl
Rappers. The Proclaimers!
I pour the coffee. We have
on the Miami Sound Machine.
With seven shopping days to go,
some kind of commotion –
the sound of lost Englands bleeding
through a split stereo signal.
Gracias a la vida!
There’s always something there to remind me, a psychoanalytic classic.
Heart of Midlothian
Parked up on services, Gretna Green
listless, listening to Scott 3,
no intention of getting hitched.
Me, struggling to finish my big eat crisps.
You, peppy, thin skinned, hopped up on caffeine
had predicted as much – a prophecy.
Driving again, in rain. Past driven into roadsigns,
past unmarked police cars on the road to Carlisle,
past angled, hillside sheep,
past England, past caring.
Later, the fish-eyed vista of Lanarkshire
and onwards to Edinburgh and
rumoured Midlothian jukeboxes
and our bijou apartment, a bijouterie
on Princes Street which splits the city
like a fault line – not my fault but yours –
and pits the gridded, griddled new town
against the drunken inclines and whisky shops,
the alleys and shortbread of the old town.
It’s here, I find my little cafebistrobar
next to the mussel restaurant
and its felt-tip Catch of the Day.
I eat one salad, then two, then three,
these are my salad days.
It’s here, where we walk and walk and walk
until our shoelaces come undone.
All we had was MDMA and menthol cigarettes,
all that summer, all that winter.
If we had jobs, they didn’t feel like jobs
or didn’t feel like the the jobs we have
now or didn’t last long or weren’t really jobs
at all. The paper came off in my hands
as I scraped woodchip from the walls
as we played at plasterers, breaking
for bacon sandwiches at eleven,
at twelve, at one, at two.
As the clock moved, we moved
in certain circles, around the kitchen table,
around the block – sometimes once, sometimes
twice. We talked around the subject,
any subject, never thinking to focus,
to get a grip on anything at all.
At first, things were interesting, different, confused.
The Berlin Wall came down surprisingly easily.