Buzz Lightyear lives above the podiatrist

He stands in the window
next to a red teddy bear
and a doll with one arm.
He looks out at the street
as customers limp in
and strut out and he wonders
why all the other houses
on the road are so quiet.
He feels his wings tightening
throughout the day. The word Andy
has completely rubbed out.
At night, the shop sign is no longer
visible and the bricks soften
into a home.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Free personal trainer

I’m on a rowing machine in a gym I can’t afford
and a man sits down on the waterless boat
next to me. Another man with biceps
stands
to the left and yells Faster, Carl at him.
The man next to me goes faster.
Faster, Carl. I go faster.
Come on, Carl. The man next to me is trying.
Do it, Carl. I feel like I’m doing it.
Do it better, Carl. The man next to me stops.
Keep going, Carl. My arms feel like concrete.
Stop thinking, Carl. Become air. Watch the sky.
Slap the day. Remember this is temporary
.
The man next to me leaves.
Keep going, Carl. Keep going, Carl.
Keep going
.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Waving the ornaments

They don’t wave back:
the clay mushrooms, the porcelain bear,
the photos of names you can’t say yet.
When you look in the mirror you smile.
You swallow the lot through eyes
the size of a future. You don’t wonder
if his edges are rougher than before,
if his flesh deserves kindness,
if he realises what he’s got,
you just watch him wave
and you wave back.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

Dipstick

You’re teaching
my 34-year-old fingers
how to change the oil
in a red Ford Fiesta
I have no licence to drive
with the garage sized chest of a man
who has been waiting for this moment
ever since I was born.
You ignore the obvious
and never call me a dipstick.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

You never know

Elton John drove past our flat today.
He was in a blackcurrant and liquorice
purple coloured car with wing mirrors
the size of disco balls. His windows were open,
no music was playing. He started
beeping his horn at people crossing the road
but no one flinched. Elton shoved his fist
into the street and muttered something.
The eyes of pedestrians told me
it might have been aggressive or bleak
but they refused to flinch. They wanted
to see how far he’d go, how far he’d take it,
whether or not he was really there
and why he might be having a bad day.

© Carl Burkitt 2021

That is a flatbed truck filled with red bricks

Bricks are things
you can build other things with,
like houses and shops and bridges.
You can’t build animals with bricks.
You can’t build food with bricks.
You can’t build clouds with bricks.
But you can try.
Those bricks are kind of like the blue
and green and yellow plastic bricks that live
in the soft fabric boxes under your bed.
Your bed is flat but it isn’t a truck.
But it can be.

© Carl Burkitt 2021