Monday, May 21, 2007


I went to see my neighbour
used to be a cartoonist
little funny things
better drawings than jokes
but okay
told me a cat got squashed
mentioned its eyeballs
told the owner
who got it back out of the bin
wrapped up in black plastic
stiff, still warm.

His wife said I had a rival
another guy she now looked at
yeah, I said
we drank coffee
both of them chewing nicotine gum
the house smelling of lard
and last night's alcohol
sat there talked about the other neighbours
with the cars busting their sumps outside
on the level crossing.

Then he says
least you ain't a Paki-shagger
and she laughs
watching me to see.

Then we talked about the fridge
leaking water into the fresh-drawer
(what they call it)
how the people with the big field
had got some pheasants
all that
cars breaking underneath.

She's sixty
and does something to do with coal
on a computer
deliveries and stuff, orders
and she looks and smiles
a bit yellow now with the years
of smoke and living there
but, you know.

And he's sixty five
and keen on gardening and beer
and young women
the cat got picked up
put in a bag
at the roadside
then a roadsweeper came by
and took half its skin off
fortunately the kids were at school.

They like me, these people,
sort of
like I'm one of them
watching the road
the things that get swept down
looking out
into the leaves
with the cars banging
and that little guy from the station
who we all know
is a transvestite
on his knees
filling the scrapes in the tarmac
with some gunk
that never lasts
running out to the gate
when the bell sounds
and we all watch
when a special train comes by.

We like these little moments
with the smoke blowing
and the steambox blasting out

It's a river, this road
from the moors
to anywhere
and we'll talk about any damn thing
that crawls down it.

Not that any of us
actually really like each other
like, don't like
like this, not that
you know how.

Just that we're all here
at the side of the same road
at the same moment
watching the same cat run out
at the same wrong moment.

That's what we've got
that makes us
dead cats and racism
and a load of people
going somewhere else
in broken cars
crashing by

cracking all our sumps
into the distance