December 17th (poem)

Two men, fixed on the same thing

Stride straight across the Green

Toward the Council Housing blocks.

Hunched over in thin jackets

Clutching fresh cash for scoring.

Newly cleaned shapeless jeans

Hang from blunt hanged limbs.

Two dark carved-in brown eyes

Dart sharply over shoulder blades

A cough out into the cold,

And hurrying on.

At Newman House, they skip feebly up

The pissy smooth stairwell, and sweat

Along the way to flat number seventeen.

A knock, cough, they’re unwelcomed in.

Excitedly they usher in through,

Alright, sink into the sofa, offer

A chipper cold out innit…? And

Here’s the gear.

They go back to another haggard flat

Kept a bare home on a thread

By the woman who still believes

A tightened belt, dig up, shoot, rush

And then fucked on the foam sofa. Done.

She tidies around, makes a list to take

Ties up her hair and heads to the shops

Milk, bread, lemon, foil – and tinsel

To decorate the flat with – a newspaper,

Ciggies. That’s all there’s enough for.

Home again quickly for tea in the warm

To two lads conked out in the flat.


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