Image © Copyright Amy Charles Media 2014

29 Mar 2014

I Once Fell in Love With a Communist Vegetarian (aka Lenin & McCartney) ☭

Providence Street,
WF1 3BG.

Like the blundering runt of a cumbersome litter,
he's kicked out to the kerb.
With nothing but an ill fitting Pringle knit
to distinguish him from a tramp,
he's squints in bewilderment;
and somehow manages to summon up 
a stockpile of expletives.

Passing paper boys prompt and provoke him:
prod away at his consciousness,
prick him into activity,
and torment his brain,
which is savagely skewered by daylight.

Cheap cocaine leaves a ghostlike complexion
on his clammy contorted face.
For a second, he notices me watching him,
inches forward with an arm outstretched,
and shouts for out "Fez!"
Who follows behind
on the hunt for UK Rooster
(which closed at 1am).

Paracetamol runs a mile from the task in hand,
as a taxi scans
and pulls up with reluctance.
The driver kindly coaxes the gent,
followed by his friend called Fez,
and they blindly bundle into the back of his Toyota
before failing to remember their address.

The episode is viewed from the comfort of sobriety
as I cling to distraction,
and find myself yawning like a chimpanzee;
three hours earlier than early.
The lay by is laid by a desolate car park.
I'm stood beneath a sign that reads
"Development Opportunity,"
and silence is for once quite disconcerting.

Providence Street,
WF1 3BG.

Watches tapped and nods exchanged
as fellow passengers gather in pairs;
peppered by us sorry individuals.
No coach on the horizon,
but plenty of patches sewn on jackets;
Doc Martens,
a hundred copies of the Socialist Worker,
flasks that only ever ferry "Fair Trade" cups of coffee,
and a petition that they'll pester us to sign.

She arrives in typically blasé fashion shortly after 7:
4 minutes after we were due to leave,
8 minutes before the coach actually arrived,
and 21 minutes since my Dad dropped me off.

Shoulders hunch,
as Converse meet concrete:
skinny jeans tighter than the vice on my vocals,
and her naked nocuous nubile face
that was destined to destroy.

Seventeen years from the cradle to the grave realisation,
that 4 hours packed in a poky coach subsidised by the Union,
and bound for a march on Trafalgar Square with 400,000 other fuckers,
was the only shot at intimacy I'd ever possess
in the company of this captivating Comrade.

We share an A-Level in Government & Politics,
share textbooks on Tuesdays & Thursdays,
share several views on Socialism & Sovereignty,
but are yet to reach an agreement regarding Mattresses & Pillows.

She's a Communist Vegetarian,
and forgive me for being fickle,
but as I nonchalantly offer up
a cheddar Cheese & Pickle,
from a Greenpeace rucksack 
bearing a Soviet Hammer & Sickle;
I've reached the dizzy peak of post-pubescent
slap & tickle.

Providence Street,
WF1 3BG.

Nigh on half a million folk flood the streets of London:
the largest mass demonstration since the Invasion of Iraq;
protesting public spending cuts,
the Conservative cancer that riddles the NHS,
pensions plunging beneath the surface in a river of redundancies, 
and us, The People's, rousing refusal.

Ed Miliband speaks at Hyde Park Corner.
Missiles are launched at The Ritz.
(I don't know which one was more effective).
Anarchists arrested in excess of 200 whilst Cameron quietly cowers.
Nurses revolt, teachers demand, and "Vive la Révolution!",
we've stolen a truffle from Fortnum & Mason.

At the tender age of 17 we marched and made a difference.
Surging crowds and riot vans; placards, masks and banners.
And on the way back to the coach,
as the Metropolitan jived with the Jubilee,
she grabbed my wrist:
anxious to keep us hip by hip,
amongst the chaos and the confusion.

The coach found Wakefield in darkness.
Our Pringle clad delinquent from the episode at dawn
was out on the town once more.
She headed home in a car with her Mam,
and I caught the final 127.

We'd be hip by hip once more on the Tuesday;
as the strip light flickered in the Politics block,
and Mr Woodstones delighted us with his lectures.
But next Saturday, she'd be at the hairdressers in Horbury.
Ed Miliband spoke at a bus depot in Hounslow Heath,
and I'd be watching Ossett Albion play against Nostell Miners Welfare:
not a single placard in sight.

I once fell in love with a Communist Vegetarian; aka "Lenin & McCartney".
8 years on since we both left College, I randomly bumped into her at Leeds Fest
She told me how she'd loved that day, and swore she'd never forget,
as we both stood in the queue for steak baguettes.

26 Mar 2014

Flat 7C - Tony's Slip (Part 2: Duck Egg Blue)

It was barely three weeks after his dismal dismissal,
as the Tynemouth Under 10s Assistant Manager,
that Tony's wife Sandra finally parted with her patience.
Not that she was particularly aroused by the thought
of Tony commanding a clipboard,
in the Pin Point Recruitment Junior Football League,
but on learning of his departure from the club
it became immediately apparent to all:
to Tony, to Sandra, to their ten year old son,
their seven year old daughter and their neighbour's bastard dog,
that Tony could no longer fulfil the façade.

And on wearily turning the key,
to 7C Albion Falls,
an all consuming raging stench nigh on knocks him for six.
Now, he can be forgiven for mistaking,
amidst the coldness of the room,
having not yet used the heating
that the refrigerator was fully working:
but as the kitchen toyed with the reek of a corpse
and Tony tried not to gip,
his cottage cheese Cravendale served a relentless reminder
that perhaps he needed to lambast the landlord.

He can just about handle the Bassline binges that greet him from next door,
or the fact that the living room window won't open,
or the fact that the cigarette burns on the carpet are a welcome distraction from blood stains,
or even the bi-weekly visits from Bulgarian bailiffs chasing the previous tenant:
he can handle that.
But the landlord
really needs
to sort out the fridge.

After all, there was a full packet of dry cured ham in there
tainted beyond consumption:
£2.99's worth of Tesco's Finest abandoned in the bin.
Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

And he'd often bemoaned
the luxurious expense
from the Gold Card splurges
on Debenhams duvets,
duck egg blue dining tables,
flamingo curtains
and Cath Kidston "kitchenalia".

But as Tony pulls the threadbare rag
that barely covers his feet,
on a bed that feels like hardboard fused with rubble,
he shivers with the sense of the warmth he can catch
from a well-dressed well-loved semi-detached:
a transatlantic distance
from the life he used to know,
with Sandra,
just five miles down the road.

21 Mar 2014

It's A Cold Wind Down By The Don

He notices the tattoo on her hand,
which brushes her hair behind her ear,
as she chuckles
at a tedious remark.
Four white bread rolls,
semi skimmed milk,
orange juice with bits,
mayonnaise (on offer),
and eight bottles of San Miguel:
all it took to illuminate
a tedious journey home.

He falters three times,
as Green Lane meets with Alma Street,
at 10:59pm:
praying he'll convince her,
claiming casual coincidence,
he's frozen by the prospect
that Charlotte's smile
as she leant over him to reach some carrots,
and her assistance on the self service checkouts,
will disintegrate
off duty.

Groceries scrawled on envelopes
provide perfect excuses
for trotting to Tesco.
He's been anxiously waiting to ask her for weeks.
And as she mentions, twice in one sentence,
that she drinks in The Shakespeare after work,
he blindly strokes his chin,
purchases a scratchcard,
and then leaves,
completely empty handed.