Image © Copyright Amy Charles Media 2014

28 May 2015

Slim Jim's Liquor Store

Slim Jim's Liquor Store:
a "masterful purveyor of good times,"
by all accounts.

A jukebox bar
with red cracked leather stools,
old brick walls
and neon lightning.

A young rockstar
with dread stacked never fools
the boys with the bottles,
and all required remedies.

Bras on the ceiling
exchanged for the fizz.
An open door policy
to all who like it
hard and fast.

Far from the feeling,
strange though it is,
that down those darkened
steps outside
is Islington, 2009.

During that last hour of CBT
you were played three times
by the BBC.
And texts fly through
to a phone on the blink,
as the Tiger
the afternoon departure.

An awkward glance
from your housemate Chris
says it's far too soon
for the Bombay bliss;
a perplexed sigh soon says
"let the fucker drink",
amidst wider
of determined debauchery.

Hours pass by
and the mood improves.
Don't try and talk
to the girls in the booth;
you're on Jim's time now,
this is voluntary confinement:
collisions with reality
are always best at bay.

L.A. Woman,
Light My Fire,
play it dumb and
fight desire;
Back Door Man,
Break On Through,
Mr Mojo
may construe...

No natural light,
no clocks:
no clue.
A finger down the throat
says you'll last
'til two.
Back Door Man,
Break On Through,
Mr Mojo
may construe...

A wallet stuffed
with customer copies
of card receipts.

A clammy forehead.
Eight missed calls.

Slim Jim:
a masterful purveyor
of good times...
...the best.

23 May 2015

An Open Letter to Naomi Watts

For love alone I would end it all, averting every duty.
Flirting with you hopelessly can only last so long.
Let this only be the matinee performance of our lives,
before we sail the wide Sargasso Sea, long before the final curtain.
Is it really gross misconduct to wish that you were the custodian?
Spending days off dressed as Tank Girl, or Mia Wallace;
watching 'Children of the Corn' parts I to IV, and never going outside.
Basking in the tranquillity of being persons unknown;
spending the evenings under the lighthouse dancing, and away from a house divided.
Your dangerous beauty helps me find solace on this strange planet.
And they say, never date an actress. "Never date a girl like Ellie Parker; she'll only let you down."
But we don't need the dizzy heights of Mulholland Drive to be at it like rabbits.
And yeah, one day you'll want the ring, and I'll save up for some plots with a view,
and grow a beard like Ned Kelly, and strive to avoid Le Divorce
('cause love's worth more than 21 grams).
And it doesn't matter if we don't live here anymore,
and that most of my relationships resemble the assassination of Richard Nixon,
and that I had to ask you what your "I Heart Huckabees" t-shirt meant three times,
and that, when I begged you to stay, with all the grace of King Kong,
I first spotted cracks in the painted veil.
And you turned your nose up at a weekend in Great Yarmouth, and all my Eastern promises.
Even though, last time, we were trapped in the caravan,
and played funny games together to the soundtrack of the rain,
and you said it was one of the best holidays you'd ever had;
including the international ones.
And you can't see me in the same picture as mother and child.
And your fortune teller sold the idea that "you will meet a tall dark stranger."
Well in many ways, I'm still a stranger, and always will be; I think that's fair game?
And alright, I'll never be able to afford the dream house,
or be as renowned as J. Edgar Hoover,
or achieve what's perceived to be the impossible,
or agree to watch the Spice Girls Movie 43 weeks in a row
(even though I know you adore it, I grew sick after 9 or 10).
Let's just bask in our sunlight Jr. memories,
nostalgic bliss, before they took Diana;
flicking through my dad's old copies of 'Birdman And Chicken';
or his articles on the rise and fall of the HMS St. Vincent.
Life's too short, so let's live it while we're young.
Let's not agonise over the divergent series of hopes and aspirations
that reside beneath our humble roof,
for fear of going blind before the sea of trees that sprout obstacles before us.
Let this not be a demolition.
Let's just shut in, relax, enjoy whatever we can,
and await the next title on your Wikipedia filmography.

Dublin I: #JeSuisCharlie

Gifts for a sibling
stuffed in a suitcase;
a weekend's wardrobe
packed to the brim:

Liz Earle skin care,
Marmite and Prosecco,
a box of Cadbury's Creme Eggs;

all battling for space
beside a paisley smoking jacket,
a poetry Moleskine,
a range of Fred Perrys
and a Blyth Spartans scarf.

All eyes locked on the two screens above,
in the Departure Lounge of Manchester.
A shuffling list of destinations,
statuses and instructions, or

Blue sirens, on
White vans, on
Red alert.

sweeps sadistic clickers.
Sky News projecting Hollywood,
the Parisian pout flickers;
all widened eyes and cries of panic.

No puffed out chest of Cantona,
or chorus of 'Les Marseillaise';
only stunned silence,
sirens, hysterics;
all awaiting orders,
just like the rest of us.

France: it's your turn.
And which on the list
on the Departure boards
is next?

Who's cool hand is dealt
a cruel twist of fate?

£3.99 for a 50p pen
from WH Smith.
£4.40 for a £2 pint
from the bar upstairs
(the curses of a fraudulent scribe).

I seek escape
in Division Street
by Helen Mort.
Both comforting
and intimidating
in equal measure
(the verses of a latter-day laureate).

I read 'Scab' three times.

A huff and a snarl
as an irksome stag do
chants like a terrace
in the middle of the bar.

A hostage's face
contorted and sobbing;
sat frozen with fear
amongst Jewish groceries.

How lucky I am
that events on that screen
are completely foreign
and do not affect me.

A final swig (which cost a quid)
then down towards Gate 7.
Flight EI122 to Dublin
delayed just over an hour.

The plane that's due:
en route from Paris.
Two runways at Charles de Gaulle
captured by chaos.

Notes swiftly taken,
Moleskine well thumbed;
I'm ready for my Emerald escape.