:: Article

Four Poems

By Claire Potter.

One night Tommy came home pissed.
Told him he wasn’t
going back out
to get in the box-room
‘for me mam
saw the state he was in.
So, I put him in the box-room,
went out to see me mord
– this is when I was courting her like –
and when I got in
Tommy was gone;
he’d climbed out the window
onto the sill
jumped in the garden
and fucked off back out.
Slept standing up, him and his mate,
In a telephone box round the corner.

***

I felt reluctance
(not only) toward moving
the green cup
as you’d drained it just
twelve hours before but
mule-like also
over paper bags
and plastic trays with
gone-hard grease from
that posh Chorlton Chippy-dinner.
Our Last (tacit promise) Supper.

“I’ve left you some mushy peas
to remember me by.”

Now this is the language of loss.
Not enough time to well-up
concern for washing
each other out,
too brief an affair to split
from our respective – collections;
we’d no chance to make any.
Just a cluster of evenings
to buy chips in,
to make light on,
to drink secret from
vessels that go the distance.

The cup stayed on for –
a good few weeks, I’d say.

***

It started the day of Frank Sidebottom’s funeral.
I was only in for a couple of halves
‘til Mark appeared in the doorway
of the back room
asking if I liked his new Jew Suit.

-Alright kid.
-Yeah, y’alright fella.

He was striking and impressive in his funeral gear;
hand on Guinness, shoulder slumped back,
looking at me with the usual
gravity of quieter moments.

-Eh. Remember when you first met me,
last year,
and you called me Henry?
-In the Smithfield?
-Yeah. It-woh in the smithy wunnit.
And you left me a note on the bar
saying, ‘See you later Henry.’
-I wrote it on a Rizla.
-Yeah! You did!
I bloody loved that, me.

He grins child-like;
eyes closed, shoulders up
as though we were co-conspirators
and new found friendship the crime.
I sat there,
with my half-boddies,
looking at him in the brief
spell when his eyes were closed
and I’m left to my own devices.
I am struck
by how his head looks
like a pickled onion, with a
toy chipmunk
face pressed into it.
It’s like something out of a Kinder Egg.

-D’you know why I called you Henry, Mark?
You walk about
and drag him around
while he sucks the life out of people.
-What, like the hoover?

I nod and take a well timed mouth-
ful, with my perfectly straight face.
During our pause
for comic effect,
he screws his eyes slightly
as if trying to work me out.
He breaths a half-laugh,
raises pint to his lips
not before taking the last word:

-Fulla shit you scousers.

***

here is homestead;
picture frames arranged
using Leathermann,
lamps, saucers, sliver
spoons that look
like shovels.

here is commune;
eggs cracked on pizzas
and recommended reading,
blankets, pillows, games
of scrabble round
the table.

here is refuge;
drop bag at doorway,
fall into pattern and
align with trinket,
enveloped by rooms
like arms.

claireatgullivers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claire Potter is a writer and artist from the North West of England, soon to be based in London where she will study MFA Art Writing at Goldsmiths. As such, she expects her writing may become more focused (on the North West of England).

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Thursday, August 11th, 2011.