The Bag Bottom Poems


Your such a klutz
As I pull out my wallet
And silver coin falls out

I hold your warm hand
After all these years
And something passes
Something does not fall

Bartholomew Street, After Ian McMillan’s ‘Tempest Avenue’

Vern half way down collects wood
for his fire, leave it out front
Leave out anything metal Gypsies at top have sharp eyes,

Stan, two doors down
wants his radiator gone.

Dave next door holds ladder
while I look at roof tiles
and shares homemade ale after.

Our roofers knew man who murdered
a man
at bottom.

I thought someone murdered
at top but our lass swears
he was only badly beaten

Old gent Tommy three doors down
quiet when his wife died last Summer

Put thumbs up when I cleared
his path of Snow last Winter.

Pear tree in back garden bagged
up by them all when ripe
as too much for our lass and me.

Woodland Before And After

1. Burning Brashing

Sat back breathing bark
Small insects crawl
Down tree stretched above
inhabit hair
Worn gloves
Bruised brashing branches firewood

Breathe wet peat,
Damp soil, leaf decay,
Autumn dead leaf dance,
Spring bluebell wend
Summer sacred stainglass canopy sunshaft flame play
Winter heavesnow clear paths

Sat back breathing bark
canopy leaf horizon
floats shimmers




2. Woodland Boxed

Lift small boxes wooden lid smell
Broadleaved woodland
Before Rail/Road

Press plastic button hear

Wombwell Ings

A quiet place
where swans come to rest
And horses graze

Villages sit
above flood waters
A prairie scene from a Western
But it is too green
disused railway
disused canal
parallel well used road edge
quiet place

Men shirts off play cards
In caravan park
Where women check
Washings dryness

Karts distant revs
Climb green hill
Between green blades
Ground is slag

Horizons triangulation points up close
Plaqued monuments
To abandoned mine shafts
Nearby empty new industrial units

A woman holds a breadbag
for the horses to nuzzle

‘I enjoy feeding the horses
But they’re not mine.
I don’t know whose they are.’

A swan

A swan


Some fruitcakes call me tart.
Bitter. Sour maybe but
I’m not … I was just sat.
Sat like any normal fruit.

He picked us up. All three.
Easy for him he was ambi
dextrous. He knew a thing.
Took us to his flashing

lights. His mobile disco
at this evening wedding do.
Took us into the dark
behind the doings.

Larked with guests.
Saying it’s all a game.
Not obscene at all. .
He’d had a word”.
The bride on the quiet OK’d

it. Disco said “Can I have … ”
Dont remember exact.
I dont. He had ‘three girl fun.
He wanted three to come

up to his three chairs.
Three chairs. I tell you there
he’d put three chairs
outstretched in a line.
The girls sat on edge

on them. They had to ask out three men.
Not their shouts.
men they fancied.
They did. Disco played
‘The Stripper’ and

turned it off. Unfinished.
And threw us to fingers.
The girls. Then we did it.
We didn’t ask for it.

The girls-pushed-us-up
the mens trouser legs-
stone washed denims.
I could smell his hot cobs
dripping off of me. His spots.

His legs. Rough.
With blisters. Football.
Squash. Little cists.
All bony. Sticking me.

My rind broke, bleeding.
His jeans bound tight.’
My zest wept and blebbed.

His lace crutch tickled then.
He had girls panties on.

Kinky bastard.
Scab. Just brief it was.
Then she squeezed me
down his other one.
My juice filling a long

bruised scar on his thigh.
Were injury or other.
Pressure went. I plopped out
to laughter and her smart

hands, threw me back.
Missed by feet. Picked us up
off of the-meat platter.
Back to Disco’s grin.

One press stopped me bleeding.

Manhandled to the bar
they squashed us in this crap,
wasted buffet. Now so
spoiled they dont want to know.

Manhandled to the sink
bar cut us for a drink:
One tasty cocktail slice.
One tainted lick of spice.

India to Ceylon Blue Funnel, 1950s

White, steaming big neck
Swings like sail in full
Horns razor sharp Madras cow
Clanks down metal aisle
three funnelled merchant ship

Dad, up from hot boilers
His mate behind beast
Hit it with sticks herd it
Back to wooden corral
Above hold.

Heat, more flies than sweat
Dad knew white monster
coal blistered face
Nostrils hissing air
Steam scream water
Through pipes, pistons.

Knew caress its flank
Every flinch, flick, strain
Yawn of engine below
Only way to get there.

Indian cow sacred,
So are ships boilers 

Silver Surfer Meets Silver Surfer

Reading Marvel comics age ten
Reading Marvel comics age 51

Skyrider of the Spaceways
Twitter rider of the Internet Highway

Herald of Galactacus
Adviser in a call centre

Manipulator of all energy
Payer of energy bills

Crow Scare

Out your old, raw eyes
Between thin crows’ feet
Their walking hunger
Sees black fallow fields
All meat and feathers:
Crow parliaments
Mouthy parent birds
Guillotine stray seeds
Divorce husk from flesh
Strewn men and women
Holding back hardship
Broadcast dry fresh seeds.
Black birds snatch and eat
Food for sparse winters
Starved you enter a village
Are greeted, feasted
Given best shelter, clothes
Food, women, friends.
A short year revolves
To scare preying birds
The village men and women
Hone edge on blades
Cut short your visit,
Place you in a field
Tied to seasoned wood

Magic Prescription

Magic a grandkids hug
Round the middle
Softens sharp nails
Smooths frayed edges

Unaware hug anyway
Any how whatever any why
All hammering
All awkward shaving down

Gone in an instant
Grandkids hugs should be
Ever prescribed

Windows Are Single Eyed

p>Windows are single eyed.
We move the back projection,
Make clear the eyes corners.
What lies ahead, what lies in wait?

Enter house with hollow eyes breathe
Fragrant as bad breath, a dead leaf
Delicate structure crinkly soft
Wet pealing wallpaper

Doors were mouths,
Mothers polished,
Lovers humped over,
By which decisions entered or left,
From which dead leaves were brushed aside

This Could Be Ian McMillan, Only It’s Not, It’s Me

p>This could be Ian McMillan, only it’s not, its me
This could be me sat here writing words, only its not
This could be a picture of me sat here with words


Its not a picture, its words


Bubbling and breaking
Trouble in bass bone
Trouble in babble
Irish rabble round hub
And nub of tub
Of bars dribble

Then lug snug
Rhythm round rug
Where couples rumble
A stone jig
To dumb bell
Troubling skin
Tight on rum drum


Both pissed
Unbalanced lass sat on lap
Mouth tastes sweet
Fruity, tomato salsa flecks
Laid hot night dry groped
Common ground terraced
‘You can.’ She said
Houses looked on, looked over
Cradled her over grass fields broken

Hard Business Thinking

I walked from Hangman Stone
Where crime swung on a gibbet
Outside villages as post it note

Stone church entrance embedded
In three red hearts three white skulls
Memory jogger

Here stone, wood, metal Christs open
Their wounds in three streets.

I walked towards Thurnscoe, a cock stride away, faced a grassy slagheap

Walked dusty ground broken glass, patchwork carpet oddment lining fields, two unhelmeted Scramblers/ riders screamed past

Two young boys help tractored farmer gather golden corn harvest
Laugh together in field edged
By housing estates

I walked down Chapel Lane
That no longer leads to a Chapel

Hard business thinking

2 thoughts on “The Bag Bottom Poems

  1. I love “India to Ceylon Blue Funnel, 1950s.” It reminds me of my two Uncles who came home from sea with tales of sweating it out in engine rooms on Ellerman Lines ships in the 50s where they were engineers; of stopping off at places like Mombassa, Durban, Basrah, Karachi, Bombay and Colombo, names which sounded exotic and romantic to my young ears. My Grandmother marked off all their stops on a large map of the world pinned to the inside of the door on her huge kitchen cupboard. She worked as a cleaner in a local office and would check the Lloyds Shipping list in the Times or Telegraph, which was delivered there, to check where my Uncles’ ships were in the world. Dozens of lovely memories triggered by your poem – thank you.

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