Thursday, August 20, 2015

Neil Fulwood- Three Poems

Honest Piss
I remember the Seventies as a decade
of muted colours: gunmetal greys, browns like rust.
Everywhere had dark interiors: amusement arcades,
pool halls, cinemas. Pubs were spit ‘n’ sawdust
archetypes. Linoleum floors. No frills. Back then,
there was no gleaming array of pumps: the choice
was bitter or mild. Lager was for girls. In Nottingham
you drank Home Ales or Shipstones (Shippoes,
in common parlance, or if you rearranged the letters
“honest piss”); it was like supporting Forest or
County, listening to disco or punk.
Now it’s wall-to-wall carpeting and menus, feta
cheese and humus. I miss the spit ‘n’ saw-
dust sometimes, the simple honesty of getting drunk.

Should Accidentally
Ten green bottles carefully
Lowering themselves from the wall,
Ten green bottles carefully
Lowering themselves from the wall,
And if one green bottle should …
Nope, saved. Ten green bottles,
Perfectly intact, crossing the road,
Ten green bottles crossing the road,
White van man’s distracted by the girl
Coming out of the newsagents
In the hot pants … but wait,
Ten green bottles are safely on the other side,
Ten green bottles safely on the other side,
A building shrouded in scaffolding
Before they reach the corner
And a lunchbox slipping
From a brickie’s hand
That creates its own maths problem:
If ten green bottles proceed
Past the scaffolding at a leisurely pace
While a lunchbox falls
With the speed and momentum
Of a USAF drone descending
On a defenceless village
What are the percentage odds
Of the old nursery rhyme
Finally claiming its first victim?
Who cares?! This is a poem, folks,
Not an equation. The ten green bottles
Have been singled out for single malt
And they pass through these stanzas
Unmolested. The lunchbox, though,
Is beyond repair. A passing dog
Snaffles up the ham and cheese sandwich.

It bangs the drum of itself all the way down Main Street,
blows its own trumpet, a one-man band
singing for the fish ‘n’ chip supper
it’ll provide the wrapping for tomorrow.
It flashes saucy snaps of celebrities caught in whatever act
makes for a good headline.
It announces itself in alliterative capitals,
then lowers the register for a finger-wagging editorial:
it disapproves even as it revels in the dirty details.
Following behind it, a drunkard
shouting the football scores and disparaging
the players, the manager, the ref;
a middle-class art student wrapped in beads and bangles,
passing herself off as a gypsy woman,
mumbling about luck and the stars.
And here comes last decade’s glamour model
with a thousand vapid make-up tips
and a range of swimwear she wants to promote.
Hot on her heels and short of breath
comes some world-class bore who used to be big
before drugs and divorce derailed his career: he’s here
to tout a snort ‘n’ tell memoir
and give his opinion about last night’s telly.
Hangers on and Facebook followers
bring up the tail-end while the sponsors of this spectacle
toss out flyers for mobile phones
and payday loans, littering Main Street
with the fall-out of their short-term profit margins.
It turns the corner and continues its clamour,
a big parade of rhetoric stomping over people and facts.

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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