How many people would you have upset?

You are every face I’ve ever let down.
I once bought a Snickers
for a train conductor I said a horrible thing to,
I didn’t know what else to do.
He said he preferred Mars Bars before Thank you.
There’s a group of gentle teenagers stuck
in the 90s hating me with just cause.
I used to think of them when I hurt myself.
You are the goosebumps on my neck
when I press send to the wrong person.
I can see you in the pub,
an imaginary 32-year-old receding hairline
charming former rivals to your table,
healing old wounds with your plaster cast smile.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

What are you thinking?

Why does it feel weird
to bite a corn on the cob with your eyes closed?
Is there anyone in the world
called Pat Test or Lou Brush?
Where do people get the confidence
to use the middle of three urinals
when all three urinals are empty?
Why don’t we just have ten thumbs?
Is a carvery the only restaurant occasion that
everyone is happy to get up at the same time and
leave their bags and coats at the table unattended?
Do Chris Hoy’s friends greet him with Ahoy Hoy?
If I didn’t go on that football weekend
would he have driven his moped down that road?
Will I ever know?

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Thinking about future past thoughts

On a hot sunny day
I like to close my eyes
and think about plasters on kneecaps,
blue salt sachets in Salt ‘n’ Shake packets,
rusty pogo stick springs and choc ices.
I think about seeing a love bite
and praying at night to never get a love bite.
I think about moss covered bridges
over waterless streams, my stolen bikes,
the first time I saw the universal sign for wanker.
I think about wonky driveway chalk drawn tennis courts,
that Crystal Palace shiny, popping candy up nostrils.
I think about look mum no hands
and cheeks against gravel
and what my child will think about
when they close their eyes
on a hot sunny day.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Man scout

If they gave away badges
for navigating adulthood,
my jumpers would be covered in
The Fiddled With His Beard badge,
The Chewed On A Pen badge,
The Fished A Seed Out Of His Teeth badge.
My arms would be peppered with
Took Out The Bins, Unblocked A Drain,
Brushed And Mopped The Floor, alongside
Buckled Under Small Talk and Held In A Tut.
I’ve got my eyes on
Can Sit In The Sun For More Than 5 Minutes,
but until then I’ll settle for a stitched on
He Let The Little Things Go.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

No one knows quite when

I knew a man
who used the skin under his eyes
to carry the memory of adventures.
The black of festival night skies
stretched above his cheek bones,
sprinkled with stye-shaped stars.
They bulged with midnight conversations,
24-hour buses, the wrinkles of knackered smiles.
No one knows quite when it happened,
but he emptied the bags
and filled them with bad news.
He looked left and right and left and right again.
He carried the weight of coffins on his face.
His cheeks dropped
like a dream into a river.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

Things my child might say about me

He’s pretty tall.
He sings in the shower.
He talks a lot about his goal at The County Ground.
He thinks his beard is nice.
He talks a lot about his goal at The County Ground.
He really likes Pringles.
He cries a lot at films.
He doesn’t like coconuts.
He makes decent fried eggs.
He cries a lot at adverts.
He think his scrambled eggs are good.
He cries a lot at books.
He likes Mum a fair bit.
He cries a lot when he thinks I’m not looking.

© Carl Burkitt 2020