Archive for December 2014

How to Become a Better Poker Player

I've watched enough Poker Stars on Channel 4
to know if it's a good enough hand-
double ace or a couple of jacks-
go all in:
push those chips forward 
sweat nothing but a thin glacial film on a steady forehead
suppress those shaking hands
force trembling knees from rising into tidal sand, beach break waves
and risk it all for one more minor win,
a chance of another tournament trophy,
because I'm about to become everything or nothing with either a flush or a full house
and the hotel lobby'll go quiet
and the James Hartigan in my head is speechless
whilst the Gavin Griffin is protesting saying don't do it because he's seen her cards;
he's unsure
and
his years' of experience in the game have been reduced to nothing more than an educated guess.

Rain & Year 7 Football Pain

There's normal rain
and there's that thick rain that smells like the belly of a Labrador
and aches like a first-thing-on-a-Monday football lesson outside in year 7,
the grit and grind of near-teen kneecaps on torsos,
the smack of elbows into little toes,
limping virgins running from fatherhood first thing on a Monday morning,
a football lesson they weren't prepared for as they'd been told to bring their indoor kit instead
so there were no studs on the pitch,
instead 20 pairs of Total 90s running around careful not to slip,
careful not to be that kid for the rest of the day who slipped in PE
taking a goal kick from the edge of his six yard box.

This rain is concrete when wet
and turns to building foundations when set
so instead of playing one long summer's afternoon football game stretching the entirety of the lesson,
coming back in to go home still in your kit with grass stains on your knees,
you play 3 games in the rain because brittle bones have a core of something stronger than this hardship,
because bared teeth, the chance of a good defence and tightly laced boots
can get you through most things life throws at you;
so 3 games is nothing,
just another speck of mud on the changing room wall,
another discarded sock somewhere in the shower block,
that slither of fossilized grass between and behind hair and ear
preserved in school-field, football mud,
your trophy from another great day,
match fit again and ready to play.

We wanted to be stars of the pitch,
the scream of dressing room coaches and line men,
the hum of ground,
of car park,
of burger van at the first service station out of town,
the vibration of chords on throats, chants and songs devised in pubs and in working men clubs,
the thrill of the team,
a joint effort, a forest not a wood,
that stomach kick of everything is going to work out alright, lads,
like walking into a bedroom after leaving to sign for a parcel
returning to find your partner in bed,
your forgotten and found again everything is going to be alright
wrapped up in duvet, in pyjama, in half 10 morning dew,
the rain from the doorstep trodden in,
set to stay.

Star Wars For Single People

I'm tired like one of those early morning swimmers you see,
pushed by their parents to get bronze at an Olympics 8 years from now.
I'm tired and my eyes itch from chlorine
and I've started holding automatic doors open for strangers in an attempt to look like a young Obi Wan,
because I'm that tired from these dark days I think I'm on Coruscant.

imagine living in an art gallery

like, 24/7, totally legit your home address
and it was never scary at night as it
always remained a constant level of
Saturday afternoon naps on a parents' shoulder sat down a lost art gallery corridor tired from too much art
and it never went dark and we'd never have to sleep
instead we'd be coming and going from those Saturday afternoon naps all the time,
waking up from the best sleep you've ever had into the best sleep you've ever had in real life
all the time.    

I Got 99 Problems and Scrapheap Challenge Is One of Them

My heaven,
my everyday, 9 to 5 after this big 9-5
would be me
in a chair
watching late night re-runs of Scrapheap challenge at half two in the morning.

42

what we are,
is a two way thing
without touching

When Time Team Found My Teeth

Why should I brush my teeth?
the Boy asked.

Because out of everything,
the dentist said, his wife agreed,
Out of everything they're the only thing
that'll remain, these and your bones,
so keep fit and drink your milk,
brush your teeth and don't smoke
because in 500 years’ time
Tony Robinson and his merry band of rag tag professionals will come along and dig you up,
send your carcass off and into a local university’s MRI machine
to see what kind of little boy you were
and the first place they'll look for signs of hope and help will be in your bones
and then your teeth
and that's why you need to give then a good brush every night,
most nights if you have a busy week.

The boy looked up to the ceiling,
where most look at times like these,
these times being
lower left, a, b, c, d and e,
and through an open mouth asked,

Please can I have a sticker after?