Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Neil Fulwood- Two Poems

Bad Influence
                        This is the kind of poem
your mother warned you about, your father
signed petitions against and your great-uncle
kept in his wallet while he fought the fascists
in Spain. The kind of poem he carried
next to a prophylactic and a photograph
of a girl named Catalina.
                        This is the kind of poem
that borrows money and crashes on your sofa
and acts a little too friendly around your sister
… but, to be fair, has your back in a fight.
The kind of poem that would take a kicking
or lie to the judge, or ring your boss
with a world-class excuse.
                        This is the kind of poem
that’s never held a job longer than a month
and lists its only assets as a signed poster
of Misti Dawn and a first edition of The Wasp
Factory. The kind of poem that lives
in an Airstream caravan with a fridge
that contains only beer.
                        This is the kind of poem
that shoots pool for money, smokes Lucky Strikes
and has a ticket for The Pretty Reckless
at a venue a hundred miles away. The kind of poem
that grins round a broken tooth, wears
a leather jacket and stonewashed jeans and models
dishevelment on Mickey Rourke.
                        This is the kind of poem
that doesn’t have licence or insurance,
that’s under the influence and doesn’t give a shit
about a night in the cells. This is the kind of poem
that drinks tequila and keeps tattoo parlours
in business. It carries a switchblade.
It blew a red light two stanzas ago.

Mansfield Road
The guy at the bus stop is fucked up on something
The guy at the bus stop thinks he knows me,
thinks we went to school together. Or did time.
The guy at the bus stop is insistent. His eyes
are like the eyes of Shere Khan in the Disney cartoon
if Shere Khan had piercings and drank Carling from the can.
Swap the soft, seductive sibilants of George Sanders
for glottal stops and every sentence full-stopped with “innit?”
or “mate”. Innit, mate? He’s convinced he knows me,
calls me Gary and I don’t correct him. He talks
without listening – the kind of sports bar opinionism
that can flip like a switch. A scream in the dark
when the bulb goes out. A&E in the early hours.
The bus is full and glides past, windows stark
with the same blank light as the empty shops behind me.

Neil Fulwood is the author of film studies book The Films of Sam Peckinpah. His poetry has appeared in Butcher's Dog, Art Decades, The Screech Owl, Your One Phone Call and Medusa's Kitchen. He's married, holds down a day job and subsidizes several real ale pubs. 

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