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,
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
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.