Hometown Blues

Former function rooms converted into Wetherspoons

Round the corner from arcade games good for a wager or two

We sit round the lagers

That sit on the table

I listen as best I’m able to

The limestone clay rubble that tumbles from all the mouths on this night-out

The lumpy grey speech that hides shards of glass;

It’s claggy consistency kept together by the splutter from the hacked up guffaws that they offer each other –

I gots the Hometown Blues.

 

Their arms begin to dangle and their clean gym-swollen shoulders hang forward as they think up brick-walled banter to fill their emptying glasses to the brim.

As every horse trots out the stables the gents look up to make inspection and set the par for this week’s piece of meat to dribble over;

Clocking numbers out of ten in sideways glances as through curling lips and tightened cheeks they share on smartphones their conquered concubines from foreign lands –

I gots the Hometown Blues.

 

Hometown will take me from cradle to grave

As my guts wither a little more inside

Every moment I spend in time with these guys, my friends.

I don’t like to qualify poems much but perhaps in this instance, what with my blog address being on Facebook, where my friends are, I should add this: this poem was written at a particular moment in time, with a particular moment in mind. It’s not reflective of all my experience in my home town of Macclesfield, which I’m actually very fond of. It’s a poem about the distances that can suddenly stretch between friends, for us to come back together and find that something’s changed. It’s a poem as much about the struggle of rediscovering value in altered friendships, through altered outlooks, and maintaining them thereon, not merely the simple catharsis of complaint (though a lot of it’s that as well). We sing the blues about situations we find ourselves in to work out, not to easily escape from. And that involves a lot of giving, as well as demanding. If I was to rewrite it, I’d probably not so morbidly invoke cradles and graves, but there’s a reason I ended with the words, ‘my friends’.

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