His 90’s vintage hawked gear around smoke-fogged
pubs. Uniform trackie, navy or black, baseball cap,
Leaned in like everyone’s best mate with a dead cert
bet to share. Wrist-queued dodgy designer watches
and Aladdin’s Cave sports bag booty:
CD’s/DVD’s, red-hot-must-haves filched
from assorted sources: shop, car, back of lorry,
warehouse, your house – and mine.
Picture him today. Evolved. On trend. Mocha-latte
smooth, model features, trademark beard, diamond
nose stud; ringer for a Hoxton fashionista,
Premiership footballer or Jesus in a sharp suit.
Mover and shaker in bespoke bars, messenger bag
loaded with wafer-light devices.
Still swearing it’s totally legit, one eye locked
on the exit, feet ticking over in runway brogues—
ready-get-set for take off.
Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and performed in Liverpool bands. His poems have appeared in print and online at Prole, Algebra of Owls, Strix, Amaryllis, The High Window, Here Comes Everyone and others.
I’m not sure I should be telling you
but the man opposite comes and goes
at unsocial hours. Heavy-set, head-down
in hoodie and trainers, our eyes never
meet. And I’ve yet to see him in company
of elderly mother, girl or boyfriend.
Possibly a loner who doesn’t prefer a kill
to a kiss; isn’t a blood-mad butcher
on abattoir streets. For all I know
on-call electrician or night shift carer
who happens to drive a white van —
one I’ve had no opportunity to inspect
for tell-tale signs: knife, rope, tape or
DNA-trace mattress. And should it turn out
he has no dark side, I’d hate to be labelled
warped — Neighbourhood Watch peddler
of malicious gossip. Until I know more,
maybe best kept between ourselves.
Paul Waring, a clinical psychologist, once designed menswear and sang in Liverpool bands. Hispoems have appeared or are forthcoming at Prole, Clear Poetry, Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Ofi Press, High Window, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Riggwelter and others.
Delivered fresh in a box
like death in reverse
shoes are born
to walk from day one;
if groomed, respond
to stroke of sponge
or bristle of brush
and attach – second skin
intimacy you can’t have
with coats; protect,
support and respect need
for time and space
to breathe, unlace, rest
eyes and tongue. Shoes
know to relax and wait
ever-ready for your return
and unexplained appeal
of anti-social slippers.
Paul Waring, a clinical psychologist, once designed menswear and sang in Liverpool bands. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming at Prole, Clear Poetry, Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Riggwelter, Foxglove Journal and others.