by HST UK on July 26, 2011

The alarm clock sounds the first bell
and in the red corner
I rise from my stool
to bob and weave
as the ice cold water
drops from a sterling silver shower head.

I spit in the sink,
‘ding ding’ the bell sounds for round two
and then the gloves come off
as the uniform goes on.

The dented red car splutters into life and Radio One
tunes in, playing nothing but a man with an overinflated
sense of self-importance, jabbering nonsense to
his sycophants.

Haemorrhoids bleed on coarse toilet paper
and I sit there on the toilet staring at a cock
someone has crudely drawn on the cubicle door with a black marker pen,
wishing away the seconds,
hiding in my bunker like
a quivering dictator,
closing my eyes as the bombs drop.

Dealing with people is easy when you pretend
that they’re all actors on the small stage,
and not Hollywood royalty.
But it’s difficult to stay optimistic when the director yells “cut”
before you get the chance to deliver your only line.

Second of the Night
Yesterday I picked up the pen again
and decided to play with the poem.
I’d forgotten how much
the process
drained me.
After five were written
I felt like I had ran
on the treadmill for twenty minutes
set on the steepest incline.

Deserving a stiff drink,
I settled for a sugary tea
and then a coffee,
actually two,
and later a can of energy drink.
I felt shuddery,
reflexes giddy and out of hand.
I couldn’t sleep,
yet still dared to dream.

Lunch and other petty thoughts
I took my sandwich and apple juice to a park bench
at the top of Timberhill.
It’s one of my lunch time spots
opposite a charity shop that collects for cancer,
and a furniture shop that sells tables and chairs
that I could never afford.
Another spot is a red brick wall by the library.
Though that’s a riskier spot,
since it’s usually covered in bird shit.

I sat for half an hour and watched
the office workers in their power suits, looking like Mad Men extras
and contestants from The Apprentice.
Women who wobbled along on high heels.
The unemployed who walk
with their heads held low.

Maybe life isn’t as bad as I thought it was.
I’m earning
paying taxes
doing what I should be doing.

I do fear I’m wasting my ‘creative potential’
although it could be argued
that I’ve never had any,
only narrow corridors of opportunity
with wet floor signs
that stop me from walking on through.

Whatever works
I experienced a moment of enlightenment
when I was standing in the middle of the Frozen foods Section
of Tesco’s.
Suddenly I realized the importance of living every moment
as if it was my last.
Perversely enough I was unsure about what
to eat for dinner that evening.

Earlier I had watched a documentary about a
Russian truck driver who risked his life on a daily basis,
driving down a treacherous stretch of road known
as the M56, that connects Magadan and Yakutsk.
To stay awake the driver would add spoonful’s of coffee powder
to his bottle of coke.
Apparently it was the perfect mixture for keeping tiredness at bay.
I considered my own coffee consumption.
Looked down at this little plastic cup
containing the brown liquid that dripped from the hot drinks dispenser.
Fifteen minutes later I yawned
for the seventh time.

Saturday deflation
Aches, niggling annoyances that cause
stiffness and limps.
I wander deep into the cave, holding a torch
with each step the beam fades.

Turning the key in the door is a struggle
That even Samson couldn’t manage,
before he started to recede.
Tearing off my uniform
Pulling rags from reddened skin,
Trousers with a worn crotch
shoes with battered soles.

Falling asleep over the covers,
A Cage fight heads into the Championship rounds,
an overhand right lands
and it all goes quiet.

Grandad thinks I’m a homosexual
Because when I visit him I always wear this
Salmon coloured long sleeved shirt,
to cover my tattoos,
it’s the only formal shirt in my wardrobe other than my work shirts.
In his eyes the shirt is pink.

He asks me if I have a girlfriend,
because at my age I should
really be smashing the back doors
of some hard bodied nineteen year old blonde chick.

I tell him I have other things in my life that occupy my free time,
like rolling around with men in a sweaty gymnasium.
This is probably not what he wants to hear.

Not my fault I have
so little to offer the fairer sex,
and I’m not the most
aesthetically pleasing piece of art.

If he knew that I wrote poetry
then it would probably
be the final straw.

Where it all went wrong
The most important thing was to get the book
Proof that I was a writer.
Was I a good one?
The critics, or at least my carefully networked reviewers,
Fellow ‘poets’ –
they said I was.
But I scratched backs
and turned in favours.

Proof was in the sales.
Did anyone buy the book?
Not sure,
and to be frank
I didn’t care
for I was a writer.

Poems came too naturally,
running from my pores,
slopping on to the page,
and yeah,
I didn’t always think about what I wrote down.
Why think when I could write?

I was unashamedly proud
of my compositions.
Suburban misadventures.
Characters I had created,
who represented myself, and the people
I once knew.

Bio: RJW is a writer and raconteur from England.

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