Before “Get lost!” stranger tells me

I’ll keep it short.
Folk don’t reckon.
Soft in the head.

To share’s forbidden.
Grip my hand, lad
for sores
and livelong pain.

Smell this breath,
for rotten air 
that’ll make you gip.

Others are stench.
Others touch, poison.

Use ’em.
Abuse ’em.

In face swearers 
do my head. Spoutin’

“I’m your mate.”
“You’re me dad.”
“I love you.”
“You’re family.”

Abusers. Shop ’em.

Don’t come close again, lad.
These boots are fed
on others blood.

Have her
and she’ll have thee.

Drop a sprog.
Dump it outside.
If sharp tooth cold
don’t have it, 
it’ll get on. You.
Bring yourself up.

You soon learn.
Do nothing for nubdy.
All for yourself.

Nubdy trusts no one.
Way it is. Keep
yourself to yourself.

Selfish is good.
Now, bugger off.
Else you’ll lick
end of me
steel toecap.

My late mam still spring cleans

“I couldn’t live at your mam’s
It’s like a show house. Spotless.”
One of my girlfriends once said.

Tidy mam’s breath gusts over her own grave,
scrubs cold winter debris away,

her quick fragrant spring rain spray
polishes the surface as dead leaf

and blown bud dusters rub
the Yorkshire stone black letters

to a sparkle, feed the vase of flowers,
whose heads move toward the sun.


Mam, zips till
cold steel
nicks your neck.

Knots your scarf
till you choke.

Presses your mittens
till your finger
ends hurt.

Rams your bobble
hat on your just
brushed bonce.

Tightens your shoe
laces till your tootsies
are bloodless.

“Right, you’re