Useless is

the feeling of chocolate bones in summer,
a bacon scented umbrella, a bridal
procession at a funeral. Sticky notes
cling to the desk with teeth
covered in scribbles not worth biting.
When the world ends tomorrow
my head will not be asked for help,
so I step outside sometimes,
put gloves on my fingers to stop splinters,
stand fence panels upright,
hold a hammer like a giant pen,
give my back an opportunity to break.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

The consequences of feeling sexy

There is toddler poo under my fingernail.
Every box of cereal is open
because choice is something that turns you
into a fist. My eyes are the bags that used to live
underneath them on Sunday mornings
eating sausages through beer breath
texting friends to see if they’re alone this morning.
Mr Tumble makes me laugh. The weight of showing
you how to evolve and talk and listen hangs around my neck like a phone call
I think about most days. We’re sitting
on a cold morning bench at a train station
you will grow up near. You are dancing to
the sound of the announcer’s voice listing towns
neither of us know. How this world came to be
is nothing more than smart shoes, a posh meal,
and a trust that will always let me fall.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

Corner

No rain. The bottom right corner of my laptop
tells me what outside is doing. My back is
to the window at my desk. No sunshine.
I feel the steam of my cup of tea. Humid.
Nothing but water rings, dying flowers
and a growing list are here with me. Cloudy.
I have to be careful. Rain is coming.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

On the inside

The dogs are doing what they can
to earn a rosette. They’re standing straight,
they’re lifting paws, they’re barking
when asked, they’re growing perfect fur.
On the outside of the square of metal fencing
set up for the dogs to parade themselves
is a mountain of an inflatable slide,
a burger van, a pizza van, an ice cream van,
a play park stuffed with children, and stalls
selling pet insurance, doggie treats in the
shape of doggie faces, pet portraits,
and fluorescent leads. On the inside
there are adverts facing the dogs
for estate agents, nearby bakeries, and
a local pet cremation centre
to remind them they are alive.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

A banana skin

The man who runs the dry cleaners
will no longer let us walk past his shop
without handing you a banana.
You say thank you with mixed up letters
and lift it up like a freshly washed sun.
I spend 20 minutes a night
on a sheet of a thousand miniatures spikes
to puncture the thin skin that’s wrapped
too tightly to let sleep begin. Here,
stood between the teeth of banana giver
and banana taker, I feel it melting.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

Welcome to weather

It sits in pockets of skin
tucked away in unreachable places.
There is a smoothness to its chaos.
I wake up underneath a closed fist
holding drawing pins. It will open
and I will not want an umbrella.
Can you imagine sitting on a sofa
and feeling the sun in the cushions
keen to make you feel like you know
today is to be a good day?

© Carl Burkitt 2022

Near a milkman

I think I live near a milkman.
There’s a float parked
outside our flat most nights
with the word Milkman on the side.
I forget that people have lives.
I forget that people boil eggs,
brush their teeth, cut their toenails.
I forget that people whistle.
I forget that people have skin.
I forget that people sleep
in beds next to people they love
or people they hate or people
they’ve just met or no one.
I forget that people are milkmen.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

Where to?

You’ve got the chat of a taxi driver.
Roundabout freckles dotted
up the A-roads of your arms.
Your forehead fills a rear view mirror
like conversation starters
in an A-Z Map of putting people
at ease. I could sit behind you
anywhere, counting the times
you ask me an open question,
recommend documentaries
about the way machines were built,
mispronounce the names of footballers.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

Empty jars

There are endless empty jars
in our cupboards under the counter
where the four-slice toaster lives.
They are the headstones
of raspberry jams, jalapeños,
gherkins, olives and a yogurt
too fancy for me. I think
about pickling eggs or onions
and the smell of mustard on a pork pie
designed for sharing on my dad’s plate
opposite the snooker on a Sunday night.
Maybe I’m brave enough now
to put a pickled egg in a packet
of cheese and onion crisps.
Maybe I’m brave enough now
to stop thinking.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

E-Cyclist

His trouser legs are elongated SPAM,
the helmet on his head is half a lime.
He’s tried the pork pie, the veggie pie
and the vegan balti pie, all with different chutneys.
He’s here today from Stoke. The one metre long
battery from his E-bike is sitting on the table
between us, charging. He tells me
he bought it on a whim before Christmas.
The worst £1,400 I’ve ever spent.
He takes three separate sips of his ale tapas.
It’s helped me see the world though.
When he leaves the pub in an hour
he will tell me he has a school reunion to go to
and has nothing to talk about.

© Carl Burkitt 2022