Friday, May 16, 2008

Ithaca

The roads were slick
With oil and tedium.
We wandered in and out
Of cool white rooms,
Where bowing palms grazed chequered floors.
We were the chess pieces,
Easing our feet on the smooth black and white board.
A girl in blue sat at a piano,
And played and faltered and played.
She was neither good nor bad,
And someone said
"It's like Casablanca."
Brilliant canopies blew
Like ruptured feathers,
And the ice in our drinks
Melted on contact.
I drank mine through a straw,
And traced a star in the soil with my toes.
The buildings were crumbling
The ghostly living remains of other people's lives,
With clothing on washing lines
And black cats eating red geraniums on white steps.
I bought a linen shirt to cool my skin,
And sat under the biggest umbrella we could find
Until we were moved on,
It was siesta time
And the bubbles of drinks ran dry
With the shutting down of the day.

Pub Quiz

You've got the ones who go every week,
Who thought about getting badges made,
Who never come anything less than third.
You've got the ones who go for a laugh,
Who talk through the questions,
And go for a fag in the Science round.
You've got the ones who think they're the shit,
Who have puns in their team-names,
Like 'Quiz-team Aguilera'.
You've got the ones who wait for 'Entertainment'
Because of their Heat subscription,
Hoping for one about Geri Halliwell's baby.
Then you've got the bar staff,
Sick of the quiz-caller's voice,
Sick of the competitive heat in the air,
And sick of
"Can you repeat number seven mate?"

The Jumble Circuit

The jumble sale book table.
It's like a slice
Of unwanted society.
Dog-eared Rupert annuals feel mothered
By the Barbara Taylor-Bradfords.
Many a pastel-coloured saga novel
Lie hoping, wishing
That someone might just once
Keep them:
Then they could escape
The jumble circuit.
Two copies of Much Ado compete,
Both scarred with GCSE-note scrawl,
While the only hardback is
How To Pass Your Driving Test circa 1994
But no-one wants to know.
Then, like a coin in the sand,
Like a good colouring pencil
In a sea of browns:
Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea.
Alone, almost aristocratic.
The other books seethe with envy;
She'll definitely go for 75p.