Daddy Issues & Tattoos

She had explosions on her arms,
little ruptures of energy simmering on her skin under freckles and first kiss cheeks.
She had tattoos and Daddy issues but she knew it was all a joke and nothing really mattered,
but it was her tattoos I was interested in
because ink on skin are really metal keys:
twist the needle in doorway pores and see what pours out.

She had an ice skater upon her forearm,
a cherry flip, combination lift,
death drop discipline,
a fan spiral jump running up her arm  poised in the nowhere air of her heart burn body
and I asked her about them;
don’t look at tattoos like they’re sculptures in fields in art gallery grounds with expensive brochures detailing content and form, process and mood,
look at them like keys,
a bunch of them,
the weight of all your doors just on someone else’s skin instead,
ask them where that one is from,
how long did this one take,
who did that one on your thigh,
did it hurt
did you cry
were you on holiday,
where were you when you thought, I need this?

Boy & White Light

he grew into a man and the man wrote a story
and the story began with a boy who walked into the white light of all the wild days he had had once back somewhere over there
and he pushed his lips together and pushed his lips away from his mouth and with all the strength he could muster he said

and the white light of all the wild days he had had once back somewhere over there spoke back with a voice of breath and said
you're the light that started this whole seeing in the dark thing,
the sting of not going home alone anymore,
I've been tempted by phosphorus dipped others before
but they weren't the spark I wanted to be burnt by
and what's that in your pocket?

the boy pulled out his phone and placed it horizon flat on his palm with the screen pointing up
and the white light of all the wild days he had had once back somewhere over there said press play
and both of them sang,

she's a Dire Straits solo
slung 'round the neck of some
lost, nowhere-bound romeo
who doesn't know how act 5 scene 3 ends.

24 Hours in Police Custody: WE'RE FILMING IT

she was so in denial that she was answering her own questions with more questions,
24 hours in police custody
and a child at home with no known mum,
another fledging with no box to jump from,
she strikes me as the kind of person
who has maglev feet
she probably walks in a constant
drift of energy and places to go,
but ends up nowhere new,
running for green men but never quite making them,
her red man this police station on a Friday night
and another wait at this zebra-crossing-lights-are-red stop
and she's shouting at the Custody Officer 
like she's speaking down rural Alberta telephones
thinking shes got the advantage
but she'll never win, never succeed,
because she's got a caution over her head and a tag attached to her foot
put on by the manager of mismanaged mums too young to mum
and Channel 4 are filming it all because small town celebrities germinate in police stations on Friday nights

Royal Mail Sunday

a premature, newborn baby, the weight of a wet tea towel
draped dripping in the palm of a hand, still a little warm from that hotpot pan over there resting on a back burner hospital bed,
both of 'em careful not to slip into two like a wet paper tissue,
wrapped up and around in fragile Royal Mail bed sheets and sellotape;
first class, signed for, next day delivery on this:
two packages for the price of one.
FedEx would most certainly lose them,
DPD would never deliver them,
Translink would misplace them,
so it's down to Royal Mail to get them where they need to be,
back at home, afternoon nap by 3.


I stopped shopping at Topman
because I'm not a top man anymore,
and the models in there are selling me two things:
a product and confidence;
those industrial A1 pieces of advertising are there to say,
here, have this new vest and handful of confidence.
Now, I don't have the physique for a vest just yet, instead I have a full set of tent poles that, once assembled, kind of make up the outline of a man who knows what he's doing,
but I will have your confidence.
Topman, you have inspired me to walk outdoors in brisk and dangerous winter weather warnings in just a pair of stretch skinny jeans and a matching t-shirt, part of the 2-for-£12 offer.
Topman, you have showed me that a tucked in black vest and pair of corduroy trousers with matching pork pie hat is fashion.
Topman, the next time I'll see you is when I have a son, when we walk in together and I say,
don't worry, it's just a phase.