by Dane Cobain
The screech of rubber
and he hit him like a bad boxer,
broken bumper and three-starred
I was omnipresent
but I didn’t get
the numberplate.
It happened like a shipwreck –
they circled like a vulture
and took away the whiplashed
forever burning brake-pads,
no cops, no green, no
nothin’ but the gaslight.
It all happened in
the midsummer moribund
broken-carred regret
of Friday night
This is a real bad city
full of crazies
and between the drugs and the booze and the sex
there’s nothing to e-mail home about.
Mother turned 49 this year
and I’m living away from home
with a real job, this time.
And there’s a real bad place in this city
that I haven’t managed to find;
it’ll be out there somewhere,
like we all are.
I cut my hair short for the summer,
looked presentable at weddings,
prepared for a first and perfect pitch.
I sang songs along the motorway.
But it’s a real bad city
for my real bad posture,
slouching in the sunshine smoking cigarettes
‘til someone send me home.
I read the one true poet
and make a start on the Stella.
Couldn’t peel a banana with their eyes open,
Couldn’t drink a glass of water.
Couldn’t manage money if he were a footballer.
Couldn’t make a hyena smile.
Tell you what though,
they’re pretty good at
stealing my money…
The House of Nations
Bobbie dressed to kill
Alex and Simon
who ran bars like rappers’
Christmas presence.
One girl,
with mismatched tits and spiderweb leggings
dropped a cigarette in to the road
and refused to pick it up again.
I know people
‘cause people are always the same
but I could talk about that
in the urinals,
I wonder why the hell
I piss so quickly;
I’ll be washing my hands
while you’re still shaking.
This is public relations.
A Child’s Drawing
In the gutter,
rolled in to a jet black cone
with two gold stars
peeling from the paper.
It’s raining
outside the pub,
the smokers smoke and cough
cradling death with one hand
and an iPhone 4 with the other –
a cassette tape case.
One woman smokes it like a pencil;
I’m on my way home.
The rain’s falling fast,
cars roll by and splash
me with
oil and dirt;
the drivers stare
at me and not the road,
whispering my memos.
They’re building new houses
Across the road –
I wonder who’ll move in.
Honey, I’m coming home.

0 thoughts on “Screech

  1. British? “Numberplate,” “Natwest,” “pub.” Disconnected, random incidents and observations do make a kind of odyssey coming home but to what consequence? Begins with the crash and seems to get worse. The voice is young without much of a life or identity. Poetry is mentioned twice but without any effect or significance. For me the poem doesn’t come together as a poem. Personal references constitute just part of the non-sequitors. Lost youth is all I can get out of it. Maybe someone can help me here. The poet?

  2. Hi Randall, this is your poet speaking! I am British as it happens – in fact, you’re right on most counts. It looks like the layout is wrong as this is in fact five assorted poems collected together – five individual snapshots, rather than one long, chaotic one. There are supposed to be five separate poems – ‘Screech’, ‘Indefinitely’, ‘Natwest’, ‘The House of Nations’ and ‘A Child’s Drawing’ – and you can spot the titles of each of them if you look at the manuscript. Lost youth though, that’s pretty much the essence. Thanks for reading (and commenting)! 🙂

  3. Thanks, Dane. I re-read the poem as individual titled snapshots, and it’s still chaotic, but the fracturing into five parts helps isolate the incidents. So it comes together indeed more as an odyssey with separate critical stops (as in Homer), yet with a contemporary sense of aimless roaming which may never reach a destination.

Leave a Reply