Now that frantic April is past, here’s a recent redraft of something I’ve been working on.
We stand in the bay window
over the shop
…Taylor Street marked a line
…divided Elgin Street’s brick terraces
…from Grey Street’s stone detached.
You point up the slope
two thirds of the way, on the right.
There. A black Vauxhall.
The handbrake faulty, or just
not pulled up tight. Who knows?
The story starts slowly
like the roll of the car,
then gathers momentum
at the staggered T .
“ I was serving Mrs Lord
…-like a haddock in a headscarf –
….we called her Mrs Fish.
I reached across the counter
grabbed the shoulder of her coat
dragged her half across the blue formica…”
…The window dances
…glass-storm snow-storm ice-storm
…white and dazzle chrome grille
…bumper and pyramid of tinned rice pudding
…bang and bounce
…off the bonnet’s black glint
…as everything rackets back
I know the punch line – whose car it was,
how it’s quickly towed,
joiners and glaziers arrive repair and go –
it doesn’t even make the local paper.
“All in the golf club,” you say,
“or doing the same funny handshake.”
But I don’t care about the two sets of rules,
it’s standing in the half light
listening to a world come alive I like…
the smell of wool and Woodbines, Old Spice,
Tell me again.