King’s Road 1979

our breath formed misty clouds
the breeze stole the warm droplets
it used them for its own benefit
to break down the morning grey
with the help of the sun beyond
black taxi cabs prowled the streets
city rats searching for their next meal
I held your hand a little too tightly

Johnny F

on mist in the night
from a dark corner
he brought with him
a damp lonely light
a crumpled pack
of Major cigarettes
and a constant thirst
for tea and company

the chair by the door
was his alone
reserved for his visits
with unwashed hands
the Sisters of Mercy
bought black welly boots
kept him in clothes
and partially fed

he lived on his own
in his council shed
the ghost of his brother
ten years dead
the family house ruined
land gone to bracken
a few barren cows
just him and the rats

the last of the village
old bachelor boys
abandoned to rot in his
four fucking fields
growing older gets harder
like a peat bog man
sphagnum soaked
with years of rain

a chance meeting
two weeks before
his body was found
on the road out of town
he’d bought me a pint
to the locals’ surprise
Sláinte he spoke
quiet trust in his eyes

there is a saying
that some would believe
if you see in the dawn
a hare taking leave
that death has come knocking
a spirit set free
an old friend is waving
farewell to thee

johnny f