Spaghetti Restroom N.B. The first poem in this sequence appeared in an earlier edition of Snakeskin


A flute warbles a prelude to the percussive
chant of an all-male football-fan-chorus.
The theme breaks through with a twang

of electric guitar.  Screwed paper tumble weeds,
pitch in the breeze off the stairs.  The air infused
with smouldering, cheap cheroot.

Hispanic attitude, leans against the aluminium
mule.  Intent, that seems to bare my name, stares
out over a nylon chequer-board poncho.

Into this town they rattle, dragging each time-serving-clerk
from salacious dreams, with a clattering of buckets
and brushes, bottles and mops.

Here with a view to clean, here with a plan
to make off with our filth and fill the
dispensers with towels.

This is my place amigo and I call the shots:
but the only shooting that passes therein
is the spurt from a toilet duck jet


Anonymous words of no particular
provenance drift in, they rap for cash
to move on.  Lock up your daughters
for this verse, when drunk, is known
for its lecherous eye.  It can charm
like an angel in golden couplets where
every word’s worth falling for.  It rips
a “wanted” commission from the telegraph
and charges its rifle with meter.
Offering a mumble to the badge, to the man
we call judge.  It breaks for the hills
as soon as your eyes leave the page.


Inspecting the handset with obsession,
turned onto ergonomic design.
Its chimes hypnotize
like a nursery toy tune.  A sneer drops a muscle

or two and almost dissolves to a smile.
(Elsewhere there are basins to be bleached).
So what when it stops?  Does someone
deserve an answer, might one anonymous

extra buy it?  What of that time-locked
lime-scale which only a patient hand
might crack, or the U-bend that bluffs,
in the face of an opponent's flush.

What of the arsenal beyond the pale?
What of the germs with no name?


I’ll go in, if you cover the door.
At eleven o’clock, there are bandits
who have captured the bowls and
a lawman who is locked in a trap.

I will play the silent type,
whose serpent eyes narrow
to focus in the florescent flicker
that electrifies the dandruff

loitering upon my lapels.
Should something move, should it not,
I’ll douse it with a product kept
far from the reach of children.

Better start carving those minuscule
coffins in which to inter
this slime – not in the lines of this tale
but beyond the written word.


Now that the waters are still
and the cisterns are bursting
with kinetic anticipation; just to be

flushed again with that rush of excitement
another morning will bring.
The breeze blows back a souvenir

of the hours past.  The faint clump
of trolley wheels on barren carpet tile;
the cacophonous implements of hygiene

that chime like sterilised tubular bells.
We turn and somewhere out west a flaming tortilla
rolls across an empty horizon.

Clumps of words descend in the evening
sky like the afternoon's spent bullets
finally falling to earth, scattering

their shell-cases of credit about
the desiccated land.  Haven't you finished
reading this yet?  Isn’t there someone to call?

Graeme Bes-Greene

If you've any comments on this poem, Graeme Bes-Greene would be pleased to hear from you.