Deadline Day

Transfer deadline day makes me think of you.
Late nights drinking in your memory
over news coming through of ridiculously over-priced moves.
Clubs losing their stars like we lost ours,
fans reluctantly told to move on.
But this year things have changed.
They moved the date forward from your birthday
to the middle of August
and made Premier League teams
finalise things before the new year began.
But the lower league lot still have tonight.
So while the big wigs sleep tight,
Swindon will be up all night
toasting a ’keeper they wish they held on to.

© Carl Burkitt 2018

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Boring things I’ve never had the chance to say to you

How’s work?
Saw your holiday pics on Facebook. Looked nice.
Where you living now?
Can’t make it tonight but have one for me!
Reckon you could sponsor me?
Your family good?
#WengerIn
I’m alright, not much to report.
Seen anyone from school lately?
Brexit, eh?
I’ll send you the link.
Let’s get something in the diary.
Happy 30th, mate.
I miss you.

© Carl Burkitt 2017

29

29. The age of Kasper, son of Peter. I don’t think you would’ve heard of him in a footballing context, but he’s turned out pretty good. The last solid memory I have of you in goal was when I tripped backwards and broke my wrist. I opted for the Jamie Vardy blue cast, way before that 29-year-old was even in non-league, let alone playing for England. Time can fog the mind and death most certainly tints it rosie but, while I remember you laughing as I hit the ground, you were definitely the first to check I was ok. Probably. 14 years ago we were asked to write letters you’d never read. “Almost gone the whole season unbeaten. Just need to win against Leicester. Easy.” How times have changed. I watched them lift the trophy this year and thought of what you might have achieved – besides, of course, making me well up at a smiling Wes Morgan.

© Carl Burkitt 2016

You

When I’m bored I think of you
And imagine you killing the time
By climbing that tree;
Kissing a girl;
Calling your mum.

When I’m alone I think of you
And imagine you filling the void
By going to that pub;
Talking to a stranger;
Saying yes to a friend.

When I’m pissed off I think of you
And imagine you solving the problem
By cracking that smile;
Shrugging your shoulders;
Seeing the silver lining.

When I’m lazy I think of you
And image you using your body
By running a marathon;
Completing a triathlon;
Doing literally what ever the fuck you can.

When I succeed I think of you
And I thank you
For no longer being here
So that I can think of you.

© Carl Burkitt 2015

The worst goalkeeper I ever played with

You were,
without a doubt,
the worst goalkeeper I ever played with.

Six, seven, eight nil,
it was often your fault,
your 10-year-old arms flapping in the wind.

Having a flailing and wailing
custodian behind me
made my job as a defender that much harder;
my confidence diminishing
whenever the ball went past me.

When you eventually left the team,
we won games.
When you eventually left the game,
we lost our team.

What I’d give today
for a soft, floated cross to come in to our box,
slip through your hands
and smash you in the face;
The ball bursting
on your everlasting smile.

© Carl Burkitt 2013

25th birthday

I’ll be down the pub tonight, like every year, catching up, swapping stories, necking beer,
my hand resting on an
empty stool

“I should really delete his number, he’s got no signal up there,” I’ll joke. Like I always do

A slap on the back

Sambuca shots will struggle down our throats as eight-year-old traditions
force their way
into our evening

Confused rounds of dirty pints and luminous cocktails, interspersed with his favourite Simpsons quotes

A slap on the back

“Prince Charming!” will be yelled as the young DJ Googles Adam Ant, Birthday Pimms all round

Wobbly steps and curry sauce, dreaming of his wife and where he’d live and where’d he work and if he would be here with us right now

A slap on the back

Sleepy goodbyes and unforced cries before we trudge off, ready to tuck our memories under the duvet

The only light, an iPhone light: “See you next August. Love you mate. x”

 

© Carl Burkitt 2012