Jimmy White met Thin Lizzy

Steve Davis thinks
he only won the World Snooker Championship
because he wasn’t attractive,
he had nothing to do but practice.
He’s sitting on my television,
a skin tight black T-shirt and beige jacket.
When Jimmy White crashed a speed boat
Stephen Hendry admitted he couldn’t swim
so Barry Hearn dragged him to shore.
Jimmy White never won
the World Snooker Championship,
he got his teeth sorted, got new suits,
and did his best to ignore his head.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

He stops us on the street

He is in his 80s. He points at your pink socks
and puts a thumbs up. He says his kids
are in their 50s and that years lose numbers
over time. He is desperate for a hug.
He tells me to savour you.
He tells you to cause chaos.
He says you were made from magic
and hope and he disappears
unsure if he ever really existed.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Chimps in trousers

We hang pictures on our walls
to remind us of faces we’ve seen.
We roll hand towels when people visit,
use a dust pan and brush to remove our skin,
put £1.50 crisps in salad bowls.
We worry about mould that doesn’t exist yet,
try not to run out of milk, buy too many bananas,
look at the sun without blinking,
wonder if strangers know what we’re thinking
so let our smiles swing between lampposts
and resist eating from each other’s scalp.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Sophie Ellis-Bextor does the school run in an electric Tuk Tuk

She’s doing discos in the kitchen,
touring with Steps in the evening.
It’s Liverpool this week, Glasgow next week.
Her book is out in hardback, she’s spinning plates.
My knees are murder on the living room floor.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor has five kids.
I might go to Costa later, let the men
from the bookies blow raspberries at my son.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

2001

You are 15. You walk with your heart
in front of you. Everything that will ever hurt you
already exists in unopened boxes.
The air is thin and you think you can swim
in it as you reach a hand up to take
an apple out of a cloud and sing
the first words that get sent to your mouth.
There is no need for oxygen when you are made
out of wet look hair gel and Mars Bars.
Don’t think about tomorrow,
it is not real, it is a rumour invented by people
desperate to make you believe
there is a point to all of this.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

A vacuum cleaner with a skull

After Billy Collins

Imagine a crab with the face of a priest,
a banana with the skin of a snake,
a sofa with the height of a mountain.
Imagine a front door with shark teeth,
a lollipop made out of fingernails,
a vacuum cleaner with a skull.
Imagine a baseball cap with an ice cream rim,
a slipper with a ghost’s mouth,
a set of goalie gloves with a future.
You’re having dreams these days
and I cannot imagine what you’re seeing.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

The hug

They hug
and slap each other’s backs
like shovels to the final dirt
chucked on top of graves.
They let go,
thick necks and soft eyes
directly opposite each other.
They don’t
say a word. They head
to the bar and spend five minutes
joking with the staff;
fingerprints tingle on spines.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Coated almonds

Pardon?
Coated almonds.
What?
Coated almonds.
What?
Chocolate coated almonds.
Huh?
It went on and on and on
until almonds became air
and Waitrose melted into soil
and the couple became fish
that grew legs and pointed
at the sun in awe.

© Carl Burkitt 2021