Argus Fish Bar, Bedminster – Ben Banyard

Argus Fish Bar, Bedminster

Queued first along the steamed window,
or out of the door in the cold some nights,

then the shiny cabinet-topped counter
glowing with battered sausages, mushy pea fritters,
Clark’s pies, cod, haddock, plaice.

Jim’s dad opened this place in the 50s,
his customers are like members.

Knows their names and stories,
asks after kids, jobs, test results
from his station at the fryer
as the ladies heap chips on paper.

Salt and vinegar with that, my love?
Wrapped up or left open?

The photo Martin Parr took one lunchtime,
pride of place above the pickled onions,
captured Jim and his queue,

framed something familiar, ordinary.
Made art of it forever.

 

Ben Banyard grew up in Birmingham but now lives near Bristol. His pamphlet, ‘Communing’, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2016, and his first full collection, ‘We Are All Lucky’, is due out early in 2018. Ben also edits Clear Poetry: https://clearpoetry.wordpress.com and blogs at https://benbanyard.wordpress.com

 

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