Tag Archives: bristol

Turn Your Head, Cabin Boy!

 

 

A strange tide pulled me, moonlike,

In a tall ship, head to heel.

Past the Hammersmith Flyover

To a southern slaver’s town.

 

I sailed through service stations

And desperate public art,

To sit atop my painted hill

And feel the wind again.

 

This morning saw me sitting

In a merchant venturers box

Speaking to a pan-faced girl

Shut inside the open plan.

 

Dressed in cut-price finery,

My heels itching in new shoes

I lied, and my lies she wrote down,

An assessment of my wanderings.

 

Each mark against my made-up name

Is a lashing at the mainsail.

A plea for alms, a lame-footed tattoo was

Scored above my spine.

 

The poniard twists! My mutiny

Subdued by other’s fighting.

I thought I could be a coup de grace

In this slaver’s town.

 

The captain would not like this,

He would shout into my earpiece.

My weekly stats are thinning rope

Holding up the mess.

 

The tide will turn, one day soon,

To pull me back to London.

Though different winds shall drag these sheets

Through Reading, Datchet, Slough.

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