• FACE

    Father Dillon
    at your grave
    hands me
    a plastic shovel
    full of dust
    in the bitter wind
    & then nods
    as I fling it in
    then take out
    your Man United cap
    & throw it down
    on top of you
    somewhere
    inside that coffin

    *

    3 days
    before you fell
    over dead
    on the concrete
    near the green bit
    with Rusty
    & the teabag
    in the Bunny mug
    near the kettle
    you reckoned
    you were the only eejit
    in the whole UK
    who'd backed Boston United
    in your £5 4-timer
    & they were losing
    3-nil at half-time
    so I said ‘Face
    I did them too'
    & we gently laughed
    & then you went away

    *

    on your sofa blocked
    & you've explained
    how you're goin' to
    cancel your Sky subscription
    for the 3rd time
    in 20 minutes
    & you've hit the brew
    with all the stress
    of havin' to print
    the Giros as well
    as issuing them
    telling me straight
    ‘honest Brian
    it'll drive me
    to a heart attack'
    & all about that bitch
    Tattoo Tit
    & the other boss
    you told me often
    was a total wanker

    *

    Keith's crying
    at the bar
    telling me
    he's sent
    a ‘few wee texts'
    to your dead
    phone since
    like the time
    O'Shea scored
    in the last minute
    against the Scousers

    *

    I remind
    Peter Kirby
    at your wake
    about the fire
    in your chimney
    & as he knelt
    in his uniform
    on your hearth
    you wound him up
    saying it was great
    to see a West Ham man
    on his knees
    underneath your poster
    of King Eric Cantona

    *

    that lad tells me
    of his vodka past
    & how you followed him
    into the jakes once
    to see if there was anything
    you could do
    when his wife
    was goin' through
    ‘a wee cancer scare'

    *

    during the World Cup
    with the curtains drawn
    & cider & specials at 6am
    a whole gang of you
    & Andy spilled his
    so Rusty licked it up
    & you were outraged
    about him sending your dog
    back to re-hab

    *

    yesterday in the gloom
    I found the photo
    of you & Alex Best
    the night George came
    to The Dobbins
    for the Carrick club
    & got blocked
    on white wine
    so I place you & her
    on the little table
    near the kitchen door
    where you'd keep match tickets
    a few old badges and programmes
    & a few old passport photos
    of you in the 70s
    when you had hair
    loads of it and a moustache
    & looked like a Brazilian footballer

    *

    old Tommy Killen
    reckons one day
    during Deal or No Deal
    he turned around
    & asked you
    ‘well Martin?'
    & you were there
    on that stool he swears
    ‘I fuckin' saw him
    Brendan I swear!'
    but later he came back
    from the jakes
    clutching the barstools
    & the rail on the bar
    but you weren't helping him back
    the way you used to

    *

    no dog sanctuary would do
    & it was no good
    sending her down
    to D Root's outhouse either
    as he told me himself
    when you were over
    in the Amblehurst
    at the Birmingham game
    she just cried and yelped
    & wouldn't settle
    for the whole weekend
    until you came back
    lifted her onto your knee
    & tickled her tummy

    *

    let's go back there together
    parties on Christmas Eve
    up in your bedroom
    in 55 Cable Road
    with the Kate Bush poster
    loads of us blocked
    & the day Mama asked
    Davy Root to come down
    to collect the sandwiches
    on the Pope's commemorative plate
    & Big Tag drinkin' the peach schnepps
    down in one from a pint glass

    *

    just inside the gates
    of the cemetery
    their heads bowed
    4 guys in suits from the Carrick club
    from The Windrose
    where you watched United games
    with Norwegian commentary
    & I remember thinking
    as they stepped forward
    how you'd like it
    they'd turned up
    & were about to take
    a lift of your coffin... more »

  • IT'S OUR DANCE

    for Lorna
    Every Sunday
    I play Nina Simone's
    ‘My baby just cares for me'
    & with a different flower
    in your hair every week
    you spring out from the bar
    & I leave the mixing desk
    & we dance with our hangovers,
    yes we dance around the bar
    & last week we ended up
    outside briefly on Lewes Road
    in the petrol hazes
    & we even waltzed
    out to the beer garden
    & everybody smiles
    when we dance together
    to ‘My baby just cares for me'
    & for a few precious minutes
    it's as if we have all swallowed the moon
    & everyone is lighter
    & the world might not ever end.... more »

  • Lasagne

    There's something
    I've wanted to tell you,
    even when we were together,
    but I thought it better
    I kept it to myself.

    Yes, my love,
    it's regarding your Lasagne,
    it was always too dry
    but I didn't want to tell you
    or mention it at the time.

    Thought I'd put you in the picture
    now that you've gone
    & are cooking Lasagne
    without much liquid
    for somebody else.... more »

  • Not Yet

    for Michaella

    hardly surprising
    your Dad on the phone
    explaining in graphic detail
    the intricate laws of physics
    when you say you're convinced
    if you persevere that is
    in the madness & chaos & wind
    eventually you'll levitate

    that's quite a lot of cushions
    to be stacking up
    & keep the best China
    at the bottom of the other kitchen

    keep your balance & concentrate
    forget about your Da
    think only of lonely angels
    think about the dew this morning
    or the frost all over the rooves

    keep focus! steady girl!
    you can do it!
    & I'll wait for you somehow

    sure look out at those stars winking
    I've built a stairway up to them... more »

  • SOME LOVE POEMS

    1

    There you go
    this morning
    with frost
    in your parka
    down London Road

    I'd know your walk
    anywhere

    But I'm not there
    I'm in this dumb room
    with your blond hair
    & all the beautiful lines
    on your very special face

    2

    In your doorway
    I'll stay

    the light kisses
    I'll place
    & there are diamonds
    on your eyelids

    I'll stay here
    in your doorway
    & when we kiss
    we both look so young

    3

    Your bathroom is alone
    the spotless white bath
    your brushes & stuff

    I'd stand here often
    in my own silence
    but your bathroom is alone now
    & I don't wait

    I don't walk
    down to the table and ashtray
    just to remind you again
    how much you will always move me

    4

    It's only your voice
    & frost on the wires

    It's only the touch
    of your hair

    only the sunlight
    through your white blinds

    It's only your presence
    on all the platforms & rain

    in all the aisles
    in the glasses & bottles

    in the air
    in the wayward stars

    in all the leaves
    in our unhappy faces... more »

  • THE EAGLES

    1

    smoking in Sean's fancy motor
    on the way to bury you,
    I remind him
    you were the worst header
    of a ball in the entire universe
    always jumping up
    your hands by your side
    your eyes closed and hopeful

    2

    in The Whitecliff
    so many times
    your litany
    of the original line-up
    of The Eagles first game ever
    73 on the allweather pitch
    at the back of St Nicholas
    & when you mentioned Haitchy
    you always paused
    no matter how pissed
    & said ‘God rest his soul'

    3

    remember that game Facey
    up in Buckna in the mud
    14 nil down & I scored
    & did a lap of honour
    round the whole pitch
    ‘aye & some auld doll
    was trying to trip you up
    with her umbrella'
    you often added
    & proclaimed I was
    in your all-time Eagles
    starting line-up... more »