A collection of poems and other writings...

Saturday, 9 May 2015

match day

The crowds are out
it’s match day
and Bramall Lane draws
a constant current
of stripeshirted men
scarved women

A’Salt and Battered

is queued up
down the road
never seen it so busy
selling chips by the galleon

I’m against the flow
and he spots me yards off
as he climbs the street
past the Cremorne
till we coincide
outside cake‘r’us
he raises his left hand
in a high five salute

a black guy
about forty five

how’re ya doin?

we’re passing nearside and
I raise my left hand
to give him back the greeting
it can’t hurt
he’s perhaps a little


ah, he’s got me
holds onto my hand
now engulfed
within his
cold dry palm
a bricklayer’s hand perhaps
smooth calloused skin

It’s been a long time, he says
has it? I smile
you don’t remember?
oh, say I, no
do I know you?
you don’t remember?
I don’t think so
where do I know you from?
you tell me, he says
I can’t think… down south somewhere?
that’s it
that’s right
funny, I say
I don’t remember at all
oh yes, says he
oh yes

he’s got me eye to eye
you know what I’m doing now?
he licks his tongue
around the gaps in his front teeth
soft and wet
er, an electrician? 
I hazard
I'm enjoying the cheek of it

no, I’m on the streets
I’m sleeping on the streets
oh no, really, where?
car park at end o’t Moor
y’know what? he says
I’ve been out since nine o’clock
nine o’clock this morning
just trying to get three pounds
for something to eat
just three pounds
just for something to eat
he looks at me full frontal

I hate to ask, he says
oh, right, I say
let me… er…
he let’s go of my hand

so I’m fiddling in my pockets now
just looking for something
my change purse
I find a penny
I’d picked
off the pavement earlier
but a penny’s not enough
he’s got me on his hook now
there’s no wriggling free
can’t find it anywhere though
so the bag comes off my back
and I’m rooting around
where’s my bloody change purse
God, I hate this
nope not in my bag

test my pockets again
and there it is

I hate to ask, he says

I tip the contents into my hand
two two pence pieces
a waitrose trolley token
and a two pound coin

I give it a last wistful look
as I drop it in his outstretched hand

I hate to ask, he says

well that’ll get you started
I say
that’ll get you started
he looks me in the eye again
takes my hand in his
in a formal handshake

I’m very grateful
he says
very grateful

No worries
no worries
look after yourself

Bless you sir
bless you

and I walk off 
and feeling slightly