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

Desperate

I’m watching a butterfly
flying in the face
of Labrador in a pub garden
and thinking about the time
I got kicked in the face
outside a nightclub.
The foot had a life of its own.
It fluttered like it wasn’t sure
what it wanted to do
and my head lay still
either lost or desperate for it.

© Carl Burkitt 2020

The worst

The green veins
in the side of your head
show up best
when you poo.
They pop
like the milk spot
on your nose,
the cat curiosity
in the black of your eyes,
the rasp of your breath
when I’m sound asleep
thinking of the worst.

© Carl Burkitt 2020