broken home

broken home


each night repeats the one before; the Red Lion

then back to a cold and empty home, alone.


a narrow crumpled bed awaits me.


the heap of dirty washing’s turned sour -

I’ll take it to the launderette... tomorrow.


there was a cat - what happened to her?


the kitchen sink holds a greasy stack

of chipped enamel mugs and plates

and pots and pans with black-burned bases.


I’ll wash up next time I wake up sober.


I wanted a lover - but settled for lovers;

wine, women, one-night stands,

and the ‘walk of shame’ from the beds

of school-gate single-mothers: them whispering,


‘make sure you close the front door gently -

don’t want to wake the kids too early.’


or strangers, legless on Bacardi,

who’d have no memory of me beyond,

‘some bloke I might have shagged one night.’


married women occasionally,

arranging assignations

over skinny lattes –

on a strictly casual basis.

no furtive glances of recognition

when paths crossed unexpectedly,

at, perhaps, a buffet party; 


‘could you pass the veggie pâté?’

‘the pleasure’s mine.’

‘thank you. so very kind.’


Serena’s baptism in the sea at Scarborough

waist-deep rejection of the ‘works of Satan,’

and ‘hallelujah’ as they dunked her under.


Satan’s ‘works’ had been fine by her,

four times, or five, the night before.


a wedding in October,

Felicity wearing her finest

mother-in-law satin dress,

haute couture fascinator,

and implausible air of

orgulous dignity hard to square

with the hotbed-naked-wildness

I kissed ‘sweet dreams’

and closed the bedroom door on

sometime mid-September.


six o’clock the morning after:


after a drunken hotel fumble with

the guest who caught the bride’s bouquet,


I ambled home, and at the fish-quay

stopped to buy cod heads for Coco.




◄ clothes bank blues (revised)

I looked up ►



Mon 2nd Sep 2019 15:35

Thanks, Martin, I tidied up a coupla clunky lines after 'works of Satan' - they read better now - and added a few colourising touches.

By the way, it cannot be about me as I have no cat and a hotpoint dishwasher ?

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Martin Elder

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 10:10

There is a real wonderful honesty about this poem that breaks through social barriers with what it says.
nice one

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