In Albion Road
It’s obvious the guy lives here alone:
the fish hook tupperwares, the radiators
covered in clothes; the photo by the phone
of kids who now consider him a traitor.
Unknown to them inside his rented flat
there’s not much left of what he had before
not packed away in cardboard boxes; tat,
no longer needed, that he pays to store.
And all the time I’m here, I know it could
be me. It’s really not that far away,
like his divorcé
e from the neighbourhood;
one flirty smile, some other place, or day,
and I’d be goosed, like him. Dirty plates
and glasses in the sink. No cash. The park
avoided when the schools are out; out late
to other beds, or staring at the dark,
not knowing how the days went by, the years,
to spend them here disloyally inside
a little box with maintenance arrears,
in places children never laughed or cried.
Unknown to him my mistress is discreet,
and loyal. True, for now. A fact of life
I’d rather not have anybody meet:
To her I am unfaithful, with my wife.
She’s there when I wake up and when I lie,
and helps me with the boxes to the van,
reminds me of the bill, to say goodbye.
Perhaps one day she’ll find a better man,
and like a proper muse give up the goods,
and fuck his brains out when my back is turned,
in one of these suburban neighbourhoods
like barracks for the lonely and the burned.
If you have any comments on this poem, David Condell would
be pleased to hear from you.