Odd-fellow

Silently he sits, as his eyes cross the room.
The breeze flutters in, rustling the magazines and small talk.
Chatter and buzz, tea and coffee cups.
A man joins at his side, greeting no one.
Shaking hands with only his past.
The smile on both, reaches around.
Unsettles the young, but comforts the knowing.
Clothes dishevelled. Hair uncombed.
The smudges on their glasses irritate no one.
They are alone in their memories.
Caring not for the call to eat.
Or the call of nature.
Held captive by a guest never welcomed in.
But tantalises them with sugar coated histories.
And kisses of those already dead.
They are friendly, but lost.
Vacant in their static.
Soon they will be put to bed.
Tucked in with their nightmares and stained sheets.
Yet these men are like astronauts, time travellers and heroes.
They survive what we will never see.
Only odd, to a world which purifies.
And wishes to erase what it doesn’t understand.

The ballad of Nancy Stokes

Clouds rolled in, all over the small town.
The air alive with the smell of chip shop grease and cheap aftershave.
Saturday night, alive and loud.
But not Nancy.
At least not by the end. Down in the canal.
Left to be found by old Mrs Clarence, off to the shops on a Sunday morning.
Her small dog Terry, sniffing at the banks where poor Nancy rested.
Her head covered in an old Tesco carrier bag.
But that night before, she’d dressed up to the nines.
No Tesco tiara threatened her styled hair.
Scraped back with mouse and anticipation.
For the dancefloor awaited, and the eyes were wet.
Leary sockets soaked in her moves.
The jostles and gyrations of decade old motions learned to entice.
To ensnare.
Those oiled men, with receding hair.
Nancy left her friend, who’d found Jesus in the bottom of a vodka bottle.
And then in the stall of the toilets which stank of desperation and piss.
With sticky kebab hands soiling her jeans and soul.
Where Nancy went, nobody knows.
But they left her her clothes at least.
Soaking in the green waters of the canal.
Where Mrs Clarence found her.
Nancy Stokes. The 40 year old girl who loved to dance.
But never learned to swim.