Getting clearer

There’s a jigsaw puzzle
on the breakfast bar:
endless pieces
of a broken Victorian
Christmas. Specks of snow
in odd-shaped blue
mixed in with half
the words of a sign
selling warm chestnuts.
Miniature fingers
want to reach and create
a mess of the mess
but we wait
to see what it will become.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

To me you are cool

When I grow up
I want to be Paul and Barry Chuckle.
I want to wear red braces.
I want a catchphrase repeated.
I want to feel comfortable
with a moustache when eating soup.
I want the energy for panto.
I want a catchphrase repeated.
I want to smile
so wide people think
my cheeks will explode.
I want a catchphrase repeated.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Hairdressers don’t cut their own hair

The owner of one dry cleaners
just walked into another dry cleaners
holding a white shirt folded over his forearm.
Here’s one for you, Harry.
How on Earth did you do that, Bob?!

They have loads to talk about:
all kinds of clean jokes and tip-sharing.
I wonder how many times they’ve said
the phrase Red wine stain on a weekday.
Do they look at suits hanging up
and imagine the weddings they’re going to,
the offices they hate being in,
the coffins they will carry on their shoulders?
Here’s one for you, Harry.
Sorry to hear that, Bob.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

H from Steps said it’s OK if your house is in a state

He is a single dad with twins.
They have names
fit for the red carpet
and understanding school corridors.
The kids fight like enemies.
He can’t remember a time
when he’s been able to turn around
without fear climbing up his spine.
Mornings are the feeling
in his stomach before stepping on stage.
His name is Ian.
No one expected 9pm to be his bedtime.
Life is harder than it used to be but he reckons
he could have 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 more.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

In line

The wardrobe door handles are giraffe
lined up waiting to be needed.
Rushed-morning fingerprints are dotted
across faded brass necks. Tails are non-existent.
The final of the four is charmingly wonky
or out of shape from an impatient hand,
depending on what mood you’re in.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Spaghetti jazz

Eight thumbs and 32 fingers on the piano
in their own worlds. They never touch.
They are inventors and teachers
and chaos and desperate to learn
and desperate to unlearn and fireworks.
They are the uneven legs of a caterpillar,
sausages from different packets sizzling
in a nappy white pan. They are spaghetti jazz.
They are now and then. They are soft knuckles,
courageous slugs, a bag of giving it a go.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Flying with no T-shirt

After Bill Callahan

Sometimes I wish I were an eagle
or something that knows it has claws.
Hold on. Let’s search online
for what keeps an eagle floating.
No, let’s guess. Hard work and magic.
Or maybe because it was born with wings.
Sometimes I wish I could remember
what I used to wish for. I would dance
with no T-shirt on in the living room
because I heard some men get paid for that.
I am wearing the thickest jumper I own.
It’s November and I’ve got shorts on.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Alien invasion

I pretend to drink the fake tea you offer me
because I am terrified your heartbeat;
an earthquake across plans we no longer make.
I don’t understand how your nose was made,
it is no one’s and everyone’s.
I can see your veins. You look at me
like you understand what I’m saying.
I’m not the leader, mate. But I’ll do my best
to find them for you in my skin.

© Carl Burkitt 2021