Packing

Four pairs of underwear
is not enough for two days away
because what if I shit myself more than twice?
What if five friends need to borrow a pair?
What if six mice need parachutes?
What if there’s no confetti at the wedding and we
need to shred my pants to throw at the couple?
What if I accidentally murder someone in the street
and the ambulance never arrive and there’s
no one to cover the body like they do
when someone dies in a film and I have to sew
my underwear together and lay it over the corpse?
I hate packing.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Every word

The couple of old men
are sat side by side
like two halves of a Twix
silently nestled
in a pub bench wrapper.
Their shoulders daren’t touch
but their hearts are screaming
through their forward facing mouths
and painfully strained peripherals.
As I walk past
with my 7-week-old son,
worry lines soften and pint glasses rise
and every word they want to say
dance silently like the ribbons
of a shredded dictionary in a breeze.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Hard shoulders

The road sign said
Hard Shoulder ENDS
and I wondered if I could cut it
as a professional masseur.
I wondered if I’d understand the oils.
I wondered if my sausage fingers
could fumble around the skin of a human
in a motion that inspired confidence.
I wondered if I had the hush tone
to close eyelids without question
and I thought about the man
who I went to with a bad back
and he pushed pressure points
in my right hand and listened
when I finally had a cry.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Ride

Today I met a lady
whose grandfather used to own a pig farm.
Her eyes were the size of snouts
when she recounted the moment a sow
stood on her then toddler toes.
It’s OK now though.
She was never allowed to ride the pigs
but she appreciated the question.
She can never remember how many pigs
he had but was sure it was Never enough.
I don’t know my son very well yet,
but I think he has the eyes of someone
who would want to ride a pig.
Or at least the smile of a shop assistant
happy to tell a customer
his 70-year-old Pops likes drum and bass.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

It hasn’t really

When I walk
my hip clicks
in a way that says
Oh, I’ve seen some things.
It hasn’t really.
Yeah sure it’s ran the odd mile
and touched a couple of naked ladies
and dipped itself in sea water,
but that’s about it.
The day you died
all my hip did was take me
to buy a couple of Orange Reefs
and piss in a phone box.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

All I could think about

I wanted to write a poem about the ocean
and the way it looks like a zoomed in eye
and how there are worlds out of our reach
down there and how we were the ocean
and are the ocean and will be again one day
and how waves just know what they’re doing
and how the salt in the water reminds me
of the time I paddled with chicken pox
wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-shirt
but all I could think about was you drowning
so I stopped.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Penned in

I’ve never seen a kneecap
in a curry house.
Leg skin commonly lives in
the tunnel of a trouser,
but last night my eye
blinked at a samosa and smiled
to the peripheral view of dinner shorts.
A set of pins not penned in
by the suggested dress code
of faceless men from the Dead Age.
I imagined wearing a tuxedo
in a bubble bath, a fez to a funeral,
a set of goalie gloves to a cocktail bar,
a smile to a conversation
where I’m present but not seen.

© Carl Burkitt 2020