keytown xmas

is Kevin dressed as Superman
sparking one up at the front door
is frost sparkling in the scrapyard
on the serried battlements of cars
is cheap plastic toys in poundland paper
value vodka and a singalong
is Sharon smiling through the bruises
wondering how it all went wrong
is the factories with shattered windows
machines now inches deep in rust
is the beer cans piled inside the graveyard
full to empty, dust to dust
is piebald ponies on the waste ground
pigeons circling the church where the travellers sing
is christ and salvation and battered transits
and the silent night of no trains running
is kids in the skate park and the smell of ganja
the sparrowhawk that no-one sees
is the dog fox growing fat on take-outs
sunlight tumbling through the trees
is Jamal skinning up in his Fiesta
bass the soundtrack to his haze
is sirens always wailing somewhere
zero-hours and hi-vis days
is hope bought on the never-never
the TV on for background din
sprouts and spuds and jokes and crackers
laughter loud and full and high and thin
is the alarm that rings and rings unanswered
is tinsel blowing down the road
is waiting till the pub is open
money missing money owed
is dreaming of the winning scratchcard
the lottery of luck come good
you tell yourself you couldn’t leave
but deep inside you know you would
is the place you’re born its roots inside you
friends and kith and kin and more
is walking the dog by the last of the pit bonk
loving and hating and loving it all
is the history of coal and steel
of locks and keys and graft and skill
the thundering ghost of dropping forges
for better for worse for good or ill
is the prayers you make but can’t believe in
a drunken carol tattered pride
is too much of one not enough of the other
always the bridesmaid and never the bride

and it’s Kevin dressed as Superman
carrying too many pounds to get away with lycra
but not letting that stop him
and he’s sparking one up
squinting into the sunshine
sucking the life out of it
taking a deep breath
squaring his shoulders
stepping back inside
and leaving trouble for tomorrow

like super-heroes do.

© Steve Pottinger. 24 December 2016

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