Where are those carrier bags?
No, not those recycled poncy type.
The slaggy ones, a slip of plastic,
with Key Markets or Tesco on the side
Like me Mum had
Throw away ones, which is exactly
what you did.
Shamelessly, without a single qualm.
Plenty more where they came from.
Don't get me wrong. I salute those
tasteful bags for life, and the five
But they're boring! And virtuous.
I long for those unlovely rolls of slag bags,
that took a piece of me with them.
Oh Evelyn, where have you gone?
I miss those teatimes with you,
ripping off your school tie, before you
did the same to my Sindy doll,
putting her to bed with Action Man.
Us, rushing to the Co-op for sherbert
You’d always be mouthy to some
miserable bloke behind the counter.
Then abusive calls to the operator
in the local phone box.
Legging it when threats of tracers were on the line.
Hiding behind the pub, terrified of Borstal.
After tea (chops and chips), you’d
pull my hair, and I’d scratch your face.
My Mum taking you home, us sticking
two fingers up at each other.
What a marvie time we had had
Then, Sindy wasn’t enough for you anymore.
You wanted the real thing with dishy sixth formers.
Your blonde hair stiff with lacquer,
mascaraed up to the eyeballs.
I could only watch at a distance,
from the coldness of the Science block
When your beaus finally cleared off to art college
you worked in the Midland Bank
and got engaged to someone called Ron.
I wished you luck as you filled your bottom drawer –
the loss within me endless:
Childhood friendship buried under white tulle –
it didn’t stand a chance.
Saving up for a mortgage, you said,
no more 2ps spent down the phone box.
No invite to the wedding, no giggly confidences
of doing what Sindy did
In fact, you’re not talking to me at all.
And all I said was:
You could have done so much better
Oh, Evelyn, where have you gone?!
Yes, we’ll be fine, Ta Ta, off you go.
Hey kids, what did your mother look like?!
And why has she bothered?!
No-one’s going to notice her tonight!
Now, where has your Dad hid his drink?
And who wants a puff of me fag?
There’s something really scary on telly,
after I’ve gone through your Mum’s bag.
(Yes, the little one can stay up too.)
I got everything I wanted at your age.
None of this pernickety sharing game
Toys, sweets, the whole bloomin’ lot
And me own kids just the same.
Why don’t you tell that to your parents?
Early tomorrow morning perhaps?
And that that fancy book learning won’t bring happiness
– a complete pile of crap.
My boy never bothered!
We just sat round and drank lemonade
It’s really fun when you get big.
Swearing and smoking. Get up late
(If you bother at all)
My daughter never really got it
And she did all that learning stuff
Slaving over books night and day
Couldn’t get out quick enough
Oh hello, how was your evening? No, good as gold.
Only one was sick. Bedtime was terribly late
Same time, next week? Aw, bless you!
Yes, again, I’ve increased me rate
(The thing is, I seem to be extraordinarily booked up. )
Hated you, Sunday night tea, you were disgusting.
Picking at winkles and whelks, resembling snot,
along with grey gritty shrimps bought from some
terrifying man, shouting his wares.
The strip light overhead exposing the
manky limp salad.
Being forced to eat beetroot, peeled and stood in vinegar,
stinking out the tiny living room, glaring
at me menacingly.
Haunting my dreams.
Sing Something Simple on the radio.
Sweetless, as no shops were open.
The telly, firmly switched off, fearful
of breaking the tedious Sunday silence.
School the next day.
Things were very grim indeed.
My brother’s girlfriend, coy under her false
Auntie Doreen’s stern features
set as stiffly as her boufant hair.
Her lips permanently glued in disapproval,
Her powdered skin, loveless and cold.
Once, my Gran, from the seaside, came round,
and the room lit up in a very different way.
After tea, she gave me a lolly and I sat on her lap,
my stomach growling dangerously.
I was sick all over the mantelpiece.
A silence. My Mum lighting a fag,
auntie Doreen’s face curdling milk,
girlfriend giggling nervously,
Gran reaching for the whisky.
That was the best Sunday night
I had ever had.
And now a school less day to follow.
I warned them about that beetroot!!
Oh dear, pubs, you’re dying off one by one.
taking a hefty part of me with you.
My little nose pressed up at the window,
waiting for my Dad to bring out a lemonade.
Choking on me first half a lager, trying to
impress the local lads.
The rickety cigarette machine that still
owes me money
The old boy sitting under the dartboard.
Your gruelling, unmerciful stench of pale ale
Tobacco stained décor, and sordid
Gastropub then safely unconcieved,
But now menus are stuck under our noses
before we even get in the door.
The very thing that makes me stay home
by the fireside.
And trying to get served!
You always saw to your favourites first,
before they dropped off one by one.
Your era’s gone. The next time I see you, I’ll
be shopping and using the self service.
And as for you, tobacco, you were once
my permanent fixture, coughing on you
behind the playing fields. Trying to be worldly.
Blowing smoke rings on top of the bus.
Sometimes, you were my only friends.
There again, your prices stink, worse than the
lingering smoke on me Mum’s winter coat.
Once you were welcomed at the pub table,
and every living room going.
An ashtray, the most vital must-have.
Now, you have really lost your charm
No longer a glamorous prop, your bright
lights have truly dimmed.
You really have slipped through my nicotined
You’re now a part of my shadowed past,
I’ll have to look for new friends now,
Something else to make me complete, but
I will long to bump into the both of you again.
Please don’t keep skyping me
Shouting at a screen, hair all over the place
We look stupid and ridiculous
Do we really have to look at each other?
Shouldn’t there be some small shroud
of mystery left?
Was it really that wrong to hide behind
Email will do. I keep up to date with
the times, and I know snail mail is a
No Go, and fax machines long gone.
Along with Proper phone calls, where
no-one sees each other at all. Bliss!
Don’t get me wrong, I take wonderful pictures
of the cat on Instagram, I’ve now got 12 followers!
I tweet as best I can, and follow the most incomprehensible
Snapchat so irritating, me best pictures gone in 60 seconds.
Facebook, passé and a bore.
I’ve even joined Watsapp – whatever
the Hell that is, but please please
stop shouting at me!!