I'LL BE APPEARING AT THE TUEBINGEN BOOK FESTIVAL IN MAY

I'LL BE APPEARING AT THE TUEBINGEN BOOK FESTIVAL IN MAY

18.11.12

LION AND LAMB






























Early September,
ice begins to grip our hearts.

Ash from a long smoke, the city lies.

Ghostly images of our fathers rise,
drift in the blood-thick smog.

The traffic snarls,
dead bodies rot and clot in our veins,
dust blown into cul-de-sacs.

8.45, a Thursday night,
a senile couple stagger in from the mist.
They order half pints,
the old man sniffs,
his eyes the faint grey of a wintry sky.
The old woman’s face is ruddy, bloody,
creased like the neck of a tortoise.
She mumbles to him
and he mumbles back.
‘Liar!’ she shouts.
‘Quiet!’ he says and raises a hand in warning.
‘Liar!’ again,
‘Liar!’ again
but louder she cries.
‘Sharrup you old bag!’
‘Liar!’ she cries,
‘I gave you a pound!’
‘No!’ he replies.
‘Liar, you liar!’
‘Quiet you bag!’

They sip their half pints and rise.
He steps outside.
We hear his stick tap.
She shuffles, bow legged, to the door.
A pool of urine gathers round her feet,
she trails it out into the street.

They are lost in a whirl,
a merry-go-round.

I see their desperate hands grope in the night,
flail against the glass outside.
Blood spatters windows,
runs to the earth,
seeps and nourishes birth;
birth of new dreams,
new schemes.
It seems,
tonight,
a new sense of fear is born.


KEITH ARMSTRONG

the jingling geordie

My Photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur