:: Article

Four Poems

By Garrie Fletcher.

Ghost work

Headfirst into the night
Arched behind the viaduct
Our progress framed, Victorian
The city encircled by tracks
Scarfed against the darkness
Rails scythe sparks from the black.

The road leads to Stratford
But our thoughts are of St Andrews
Our blues wrapped in blue
Leeds only days away
Nurtures our defeat
Hid, in the frozen north.

Cars cut through
Charcoal diffused
By headlight and radio
Scores digested, disgusted
Faith tested, then
a smack of metal.

Nails tear this blackboard night
Brakes scream a mongrel howl
Canine emotion rent apart
Hairs rigid, spine electric
A scream from the guts of time
Spirals round the centurion brickwork.

We spin round, no cars have stopped
No indicator winks the spot.
The road empties of sound
No cadaver to be found, it’s fate
Guess work, ghost work
Jet black to our blues.


We walk arm in arm, drunk.
Back from your local, up the steep hill
towards the guest house half way up.
Glazed light flickers
through net curtains browned
with nicotine and indifference.

We pause and take in the tableaux
within. Cheap tracksuits, taut,
full to bursting, rippling with each rise
and fall of the ribcage. A tidal wave
of lard races from gut to face,
laughter the instigator. Lungs
heavy with tar bathe in the glow
of the cathode-ray tube, winking, seducing.

Despair exhales as droplets of laughter
small clouds of wonder, the human
race in all its majesty, resplendent excess.
Our laughter whilst encased
in spite and bitterness is tempered with
our incipient love and our knowledge
that humanity should be more than this.

We walk arm in arm, drunk. I fall
asleep in your spare room and dream.

Sent to Coventry (Stars on the A45)

Two months now, not that long really
and yet it’s become part of our lives
threaded through the everydayness
of Eastenders and shopping.
Nothing has changed.
Everything is different
nothing is ever the same again.

I follow the road blindfolded.
Although in reality, and for everyone’s peace of mind,
I keep my eyes firmly fixed upon
the unfolding darkness of the A45.
I half dream of taking off into
the night, a silent, sentinel
blinking from the tail of one of the envied jets
that scream above Birmingham Airport.

Coventry tries to distance itself
from the random sprawl of the West Midlands
for a few minutes it almost gets away with it.
The startled silhouettes of trees and
hedges punctuate our journey, giving
the impression of countryside.
Then once more the concrete, clutches
of the suburbs enfold us
and we enter the city.

I wouldn’t want to die here.
The walls are as anaemic and lifeless
as the staff that pass us.
The sharp, bleach of surgical, anguish
hangs in the air
empty beds gang up in the entrance
picking out their next victim.
No one greets us, no one challenges us
no one is straight with us.
All we receive are nervous smiles.

The machine takes her breath and beeps
takes her breath and beeps.
Sugar sweet coffee tears
sparkle on the tray
in the room of lost magazines
and faded lives.

We drop George off.
Our departure softened
by strong tea and cheap chocolates.

The howl of turbines
tears the darkness to shreds
and another star
starts the steep climb
into the firmament.

December Sky

The radio prattles,
cars grumble alongside,
the ice slowly fades
from the windscreen.
I look up.

In front, printed in
thick black ink
stand the sleeping frames
of age old oaks
guarding the horizon

against the sudden dawn.
Vibrant azure, fluffed with
white streaks, ignited by
the pink, distant star
stops me dead at the wheel.

Garrie Fletcher was born in a crossfire hurricane somewhere between junctions 15 and 15a to the east of the M1. He grew up with the stab of burnt stubble on knee cap and the gasoline rumble of distant adventure. Leaving school with A-levels in Thuggery, Art and English he decided upon the life of riley and studied art in Bratford up north. It was here that he first met Mr Geraint Hughes where they were to make sweet distorted music together, Hughes beating the crap out of borrowed drums and Fletcher scratching and howling. Time passed. Fletcher moved around, travelled, flirted with music journalism and somehow ended up teaching. He carried on writing throughout these heady times and had a collection of such things published by Blackheath Books. He has poems published both in print, on line, and read out on the wireless as well as winning a place on the Polesworth poetry trail where his poem “Gods dance within us” is soon to be chiseled into headstone and placed in the Abbey graveyard where moss may grow and time decay. He currently lives in Birmingham where he continues to write and perform.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, October 24th, 2009.