featured in the poetry forum July 3, 2019  :: 0 comments

We had a camp outside our shop
A camp for the great unwashed, those made homeless
By our crazy rental prices
They’ve got problems that’s for sure
As rumours circulate about some very bad stuff being done
Because heroin and vodka is never a good mix

Then one day last week I was stood on the check-out
When in walked one of them with a fresh crisp brand new
Five pound note in his hand
He walked right up and ordered a scratch card
All his money was going to go on what generally works out
To be nothing but a waste of money

But this time he won, only his money back but to put it mildly
I was happy as I couldn’t understand why anyone would spend their last penny on such things
He then shocked me to my core as he ordered another one
Before again disappearing outside
As he scratched away a cheer went up and he walked back in

The most recent card returned almost a week’s pay for me
And at the end of my shift as I walked on out
It was clear what it had been spent on
A gaggle of homeless asleep, nodding out whilst all around chaos screamed through
Sirens wailed as they got strung-out, resting at last

editors note:

A desperate double-down derives delightful delirium. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum April 5, 2019  :: 0 comments

I’d been drinking again
Days lost leaving me feeling like death again
And out of the midst of my mind
Comes a memory that tells me I’d been
Overdoing it again.

I was sat on my stool at that bar
Yes it’s got that bad that
I got my own stool
Me and a couple of other old-time regulars
When one of them turns to me.

She begins to explain who someone is
I’m sure I don’t know them but
Feign interest anyway. At the end she
Realises I ain’t a clue and simply states,
“Christ, you really do drink too much!”

Now this person is a legend of the scene
Treated like royalty in this pub for years
Even having their own glass which gets
Wet almost everyday apart from those when
She is drinking on holiday.

editors note:

Just cuz Pot said it, doesn’t mean Kettle can say it isn’t true; mirror me, mirror you. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum January 7, 2019  :: 0 comments

I stagger upstairs on another boozy night
Two reds down and a tinge of nostalgia clouds the air
As I know tonight there are more words to come
From this drunken pen
This drunken mind
But when I get through all the way to my room I realise
Oh shit the damn blasted ashtray has remained downstairs
So down I go knowing no words will get written without any smoke
Not tonight
Not any night
Certainly not in this lifetime anyway
So on I go staggering down then up and now I’m back and damn it
I forgot what this poem was meant to be all about!

editors note:

Sometimes, where there’s smoke, there’s no fire. Damn! – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum September 18, 2018  :: 0 comments

Another Friday night and home alone
Beer by my side whilst my mind contemplates
Just one more smoke as tonight don’t feel
Like one of those nights; It’s too bright
Outside as solstice means it’ll stay like this for
At least a fair while longer and I can’t be
Dealing, not tonight, with dragging my
Weary old body down the road to get a
Drink on so tonight, I sit home alone with
A beer by my side, my trusty companion.

editors note:

If you can count the friends you have on one hand, holding a beer guarantees at least one. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum July 21, 2018  :: 0 comments

The other day I was due at work but in town
A nightmare awoke and stalked
Me all day, a nightmare of insanity and it all started
As I walked the usual walk I
Take, bored of these streets
Knowing every other beggar out there
And every other thing I pass
That was until when I approach my
Regular for a pre-work caffeine blast
When I see a guy lying prone on the
Pavement and he don’t seem good
As the hordes walk on by I simply
Approach and check his breathing
It’s slight so I reach for his pulse
And it is weak, so so weak and as
I look around the people keep on
Passing, ignoring this poor guy’s
Plight, near death and none caring so
I call an ambulance and sometime
Later it arrives and they wheel the guy
Out as the people continue to pass,
Simply ignoring making me think
Can I really love this town?

I got my blast sorted and was
Blazing away on my last nicotine
For a few hours when a homeless
Mad woman saw me enjoying the
Last moments of freedom I was to
Experience and simply shouted
‘Give me a fucking lighter!’
I look nervously over, our store has
Previous with this demented she-devil
Who’s into the really bad stuff and
Has called the pavement outside my shop
Home for at least two years by my last
Reckoning, I only noticed because at first
I thought her a bit of a looker, a good-looking
Near beautiful dyed red-head, I
Pass the lighter over as she scrunches
Over hiding the last remnants of a
Previously disposed cigarette butt
Desperate for the nicotine to take
Away the desire for her next proper
Fix, the one that is seeming like a
Lifetime away as she sits cowering
Coming down as she finally gets a spark
She passes the lighter back and I
Hurry on in to work for the first time in years.

The first couple of hours pass quietly until
Some tough guy turns up with two really
Tough looking guys in sunglasses and the
Same matching outfits, and the square-off starts as
The tough guy, quietly at first, discusses
Business and I can only guess that this here
Is pure and simple, Mr Big, the boss who
Runs those distribution lines, and suddenly all
Hell breaks loose, it’s like a fight scene in a bar
From some old cowboy movie as bodies are
Pummelled, no one screams though and
Soon we are left with one against the two
Toughest guys and unbelievably they back
Down and go on home. The police arrive
Eventually by which point everything is fine and
The deal has been done and they’ve gone off
To the shooting gallery around the back.

Another couple of hours pass peacefully
Enough and then, with half the road outside
Shut whilst they re-build it again a lone
Homeless derelict drunk in the middle of the
Street, he wasn’t alone, there he was frolicking
With his dog he blocked the traffic up for the
Rest of my shift and I have to admit it made
Me smile, reminding me of the wild freedom
We had not that long ago before we got trapped
Here in this damn gentrifying town, in this
Damnable horrible room in this terraced
House that no one would ever want to find.

editors note:

A day in the life; your life, your town, your difference… – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum May 15, 2018  :: 1 comment

Miles smiles his way in on this
Saturday evening, coming to remind me
That tonight would have been the time
I’d be out searching, that elusive good
Time that could be mine here
Deep in the heart of a damp
October night in seedy old Brighton
Town that is probably still
Teeming with those undiscouragable
Visitors down from the smoke

But now I sit here with Lester blaring
From my speakers and I know
That what I need isn’t available
Not here, not in this town
Not outside this room anyway
Where I can dance, smoke and
Drink whatever I damn well like
But the walls are thin
So I can’t raise a holler in
Adoration of a time I never knew
When all the kings and queens of
Jazz would have been my royalty.

editors note:

Their majesties, Davis and Young, making proclamations palatable to a stranger in a strange land. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum February 18, 2018  :: 0 comments

It seems like a lifetime ago now
A time when it seemed fine to blow my wad
Enough to last a week now just on books
In a legendary shop in this town
Where I was apparently living as a long-term resident

It all started as things often did back then
One of confusion as I navigated streets
I’d never walked all the way from
Oakland to the infamous North Beach
And a hotel of ill-repute

When I’d booked it the only thing that mattered
Where location and the amount of $$ and this place
Fitted in perfectly as it didn’t cost much
But as I walked up Columbus I viewed
The entrance and other places made of legend

Walking in I noticed the cage at the end of the corridor
That apparently was the reception so up I walked
And introduced myself only to be shocked by the response
“Oh yes, our new long-term guest” the guy stated
And I thought that was odd as I was only staying five nights
And then I saw it, a notice that told me
There were rooms for an hour.

editors note:

All seek long-term residence; but, ultimately, pay by the hour. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum November 27, 2017  :: 0 comments

I grow weak with comforts in this life
A heater means I no longer need my laptop on to stay warm in the winter months
And too many chocolate treats mean my waistline expands
So now I’ve got to cut it all out
Get back some vigour by doing something visceral
More real than sitting at home stuffing chocolate into my big fat mouth
I grow sick because of this life of comfort
And sadly all it means is I get softer and softer

editors note:

Reason to be thankful? Loaded with the tankful, nowhere to go. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum September 21, 2017  :: 0 comments

The phone rang and I picked it up
From the other end came a near hysterical female voice
I thought, fuck who have I pissed off now?
But this one turned out to be another of those damn automated calls
She told me in no uncertain terms that according to her records
I hadn’t arranged a much-needed funeral plan!

I hung up immediately but suddenly felt my own mortality
At 44 am I already on the way out
And do they know something I don’t know about
On this gloomy, near death Thursday morning
When the only thing to look forward to now is work

editors note:

When Death calls on auto dial, HANG UP! – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum July 19, 2017  :: 0 comments

I was an incredibly angry young man
Those times at primary school were hell
Plagued by a restless energy and a sense
That I was never going to fit in
Not with these people; my contemporaries
Just left me wishing they were dead

I was always in trouble as classes never
Interested me and the playground
Was ruled by the football crazy sporty types
I was never going to be one of them
But there was too much time just hanging around
Until one day a new kid arrived
A fat bloated youth of my own age
And that first lunchtime we went at it
Fists and feet flying until both of us had enough
But by that point all the kids were watching
Cheering for the new kid making me realise that
‘Shit, they all hate me’

A few weeks later and I saw him again
Hanging with the sporty types and
Something deep down inside just clicked
And I lost it; I ripped my shoe off and
Flung it with all my might right at
The stupid fuckers empty head. It hit
Him hard and he fell to the floor and
Moments later I was in front of the Head
One shoe lost but still full of hatred and youthful
Exuberance realising that I hated school
Since then my hatred has blossomed but
Now I realise the price of shoes and the
Fact you can’t buy a single one, even as a replacement.

editors note:

Fling hard words instead and keep your shoes on. (Happy Birthday to Bradford; today’s his day!) – mh clay