Tuesday, 30 August 2016
poetry 2016 / 095
The Bones of Youth
At fifteen I was a regular
in the Alvechurch Red Lion;
a member of the darts team
drinking beer and fending off advances
from those who thought I shouldn't be in the bar
(I should be in the lounge, maybe,
or the outside urinal with my lips
around somebody's cock)
I looked much older than my years
eyes pinched by the sight of death and
my arms well muscled despite the thinness
of freckled wrists, thanks to nights and weekends
hefting bales of peat and compost.
Pints of bitter lined along the bar
no Babycham or CherryB despite
the history of my gateway to alcohol.
My sister always drank port and lemon
though the only time we drank together
was at our father's wake.
the Red Lion still stands;
the church, the school, the crumbling park,
though the brook where we sailed paper boats
has been sent underground in disgrace
and the five bar kissing gate
has long since rusted to nothing.