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
into silence.

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.

About Jan Dean

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1 Response to Story

  1. Simon Marsh says:

    Way to go Jan! And did he sell paraffin, or have a paraffin stove in the shop? I can smell it through this screen. And red apples. And Mrs Lord’s wartime coat had just one large button?

    A 3 dimensional architect’s drawing couldn’t describe this scene better.

    I’ve just walked out of your shop – having laid up another couple of bottles of Old Spice for Christmas. One for my Dad and one for me …

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