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Bobby Parker

The Thing

Steve shouted my name, tumbling through
crossroad traffic like Chaplin’s Tramp. He was
still alive by the time he stopped in front of me
shivering outside the chip shop. He opened a plastic bag.
I looked in. Three frozen joints of pork. Big joints
of pork like human heads covered in frost. Tenner...
Tenner for this pork. My face did a Why?
Funny. Steve mimed injecting into the pit
of his right arm the way people mime using phones
or cradling babies, smiling, rolling his eyes
the way people do when they admit they let their kids
eat McDonald’s every day. The tenner in my pocket
held its breath – if I’m honest, you know, if I stand
in front of this with my trousers off, I wanted to ask Steve
to score me some gear, once he sold his pork
and made the call – the thing that lives behind
my heart like a homeless drunk with bad tattoos
of devils and dice on his rough yellow hands.
The thing that doesn’t want me to wake up tomorrow.
A tenner in my pocket. When I got home I sat down on
the bed for a while until it went back to sleep. The thing.
I told my wife about Steve, the pork. I didn’t tell her
about the thing. It frightens her because she doesn’t
understand. You probably don’t understand
but you can picture me with no trousers on.
My wife told my mom about Steve’s pork and my
mom told her neighbours and everyone agreed
they would’ve bought the pork in a heartbeat –
my brain doesn’t float like that, it moves
like a crab and thinks of ghosts of friends like Steve
pushing past me, in the direction of St Mary's Church 
where we got married and christened our daughter
and wrapped red tinsel round the needle drop box.

 

You Don’t Know Her

My first made-up girlfriend climbed in
through our caravan window in Barmouth.

My mom and dad were asleep. She kissed me.
She did everything to me in our caravan.

Her name was Lucy. She climbed in through
my bedroom window in our caravan in Barmouth.

It was the middle of the night. My mom and dad
were asleep when Lucy tapped the window. 

I made her up to the sound of the jumping sea
in my bedroom in our caravan in Barmouth.

Our caravan in Barmouth right by the sea.
Most of the time she had blonde hair.   

Sometimes we had S-E-X and sometimes we
did other things but she always climbed in

through my bedroom window in our caravan
in Barmouth in the middle of the night by the sea. 

 

Isobelle, 6 a.m.

No one has ever been
so happy to see me

even though mornings
are strange
and things keep getting lost. 

I lift her out of the cot,
she smells of piss.
Beautiful smiling piss.

Her strong little fingers
in my beard.

Roses are Red in my chest. 

Every time
she looks at me
a broken light-bulb
fixes itself. 

 

The Miserable Ones

When I compared seasickness to bad drugs
my dad shrugged and downed a can of bitter.
In my left hand I squeezed a two pence piece
until a bright red moon rose in my palm.
Mom was on the deck, arm hooked round
the railing as she yakked into a paper bag.

The sea leered in from dipping ferry windows.  
My mom weeping to go home like a little girl.
My dad looked bored, drinking bitter.
Taking a deep breath, I staggered onto the deck
where mom grabbed me the way she should
have grabbed my dad, and cried like a little girl.

Other passengers ate sandwiches, laughed,
talked about Guernsey and Victor Hugo.
I hated them. I wanted them to be
as sick as mom and me. Especially dad.
Especially my dad, drinking bitter. Bored.
My two pence piece almost breaking the skin. 

 

 

Copyright © Bobby Parker, 2012