Round about 2 a.m. ish
and I go out into the garden for a quiet smoke
and to watch the moon deflate,
but I can hear everything coming from the main road
a couple of houses across our block,
and it seems there’s quite a gang over there,
they’re chanting ‘ASBO TIL WE DIE !’
and I heard a SMASH of the dull plastic variety,
must’ve just been a bus stop window then,
not anyone’s property really,
and they cheered at this, ‘YEAAAAH!’ and then,
and this is what set the alarm off in my head,
I heard gunshots, four or five
accompanied by some Yank-style whooping and hollering,
maybe just blanks or maybe just a toy gun,
but still they echoed off the early morn
and I heard cars revving like mad,
skidding and screeching,
must’ve been racing them
and a couple of hours later
it was a bit lighter
and just about the only sound I hadn’t heard
was a police siren, which,
to be fair,
would have irritated me too.

All this is why solitude is the only possible


I was swaying, my eyes rolling
into the back of my numb dumb head,
holding down my burps
when this pert thing
with such shiny black hair
it reflected your own
vulgar face back at you
said ‘No smokin’ at the bar, la’.

So I wobbled over to the nearest table
that two old farts were sitting on.
‘Alright boys, can I just put me
ciggie out in yer ash-tray, please ?’
They just grunted at me.

I was so effing out of it
that I was blind,
I couldn’t open my eyes
and my fingers scorched against
the snide ash as I felt around,
tried to crush it into
the cold plastic ash-tray.

One of the wrinkly codgers goes
‘Fuckin ell, how long
yer wonna take there, la ?’

‘I know, yeah,’ croaked the other,
‘fuckin hurry up !’

This is how even the eldery
speak to you here.


I announced as much
to everybody

and I imagine I was chucked out
because there followed
some misty shouting and pushing
and then I came to
under a yellow bus stop seat
next to some vomit
that knew my name.


The fat fuck in front of me stole my pencil,
and I can’t say I gave a toss,
I had no intention
of working out some pointless sums,
but he and his crew of spotty gerbils
start teasing me:
‘Got yer pencil, Tanner!’
‘I’m gonna burn it !’
‘I’m gonna stick it up my bird’s arse
and make yer suck it !’

And I’m just sitting there
not giving one,
so they throw it out the window.

‘What yer gonna do now?’
‘Yer gonna cry ?’
‘Yeah Tanner, don’t cry, heh heh !’

‘Oh,’ I moan
‘fuck off you unoriginal cunts.’

The teacher jumps out of his seat.
‘Oo’s tha usin such foul language ?’
and guess who got detention ?

He couldn’t have given it to them,
they might’ve hurt him, like.


This one day
I’d read everything I owned tenfold,
the local library was a pitiful collection of dire crap
and I was so delirious with boredom
that I actually went down
to the job centre
even though it wasn’t signing on day.

It’s a half hour walk
down the big grey main road,
I have to pass three succulent pubs
that are out of my feeble financial reach,
and a long blur of growling cars
full of faces
full of eyes,
and the wind would whip
my hair senseless,
parting it in new places
and the rain would stab my scalp,
my face would swell like a tomato
with the slapping chill.
I was a mess.

I finally got there,
went in and it was bare:
the computers, the workers, the inconvenienced chavs,
were all gone
and instead it was just
full of semi-obese builders in cheap sports gear,
banging things with hammers.

Typical, I actually bother to look for a job
and the sodding place is being demolished.
I turned and went out.
I was halfway up the road

“Oy ! YOU !

a teenage runt in overalls
was sprinting towards me.
He got to me, nose to nose.
“What were you doin’ in there ?”

“Er, was gonna look for a job.”

This fat fool
was jiggling towards us.
“YOU !” he wheezes.

“What were YOU
doin’ in there ?”

“I was lookin’ for a job !”
I yelled.

“It’s shut on a Saturday !”
We’re re-wiring the place,
thought YOU were robbin’ it.

“Oh, well, no I wasn’t.”

He steps forward
and starts patting me all over.
“Sure YOU ain’t too noffin’ ?”

“NO !”

The runt and the fool
exchanged shaking heads.
“Next time,
find out if the fuckin’ place
is open first, will YOU ?”
and then they walked back,
turning occasionally
to laugh and sneer.

I just stood there


In the meat-packing plant
with a tall man
with no head
telling me
or whoever it was
he wasn’t talking to
how tough he was
and a round woman oaf
sneezing all over
the beef chunks sliding by
and six psychos
with football anthems
for voice boxes
throwing the beef chunks
at an old man
with a number on his soul
and a teenager with one tooth
staring unabashedly
at the rings around my eyes
trying to look pretty
and a radio in a hidden corner
on full-blast
telling me what to
making them all

and meanwhile it’s still
five in the morning
and note
how none of my complaints
are about
the actual work.

Of course, I only lasted
one shift.


So then I'm leaning against the crippled bus stop's frame,
a tad drowsy from the gin circling my bollocks,
and there are two brats keeping me company,
both a member of either of the intolerable sexes,
chucking their fat wet chips at one another
and my oh my, what a hoot they're having,
until the boy grabs a hold of his pigeon-meat sausage
and starts trying to force it into the girl's painted gob,
lamenting 'Yeah, yer like tha, don't yer, yer derty bitch!'
and she gets upset,
snatches his sausage,
slaps it on the gravel
and stamps on it with a tarty sports shoe
and the lad starts roaring all sorts at her,
empties his entire bag of chips over her already greasy noggin,
she screams at the indifferent moon
and makes a run for it,
he chases after her,
chuckling at her whines
and the two silhouettes are enveloped by the black pit of a street
with no lamp
and who dares to dream what became of them?