John Davies

A southpaw scribbler and member of the Poised Pen since its humble post-war beginnings.

Stories of mine have appeared in Big Pulp, Third Flatiron Publishing’s ‘Origins’ Anthology, Liquid Imagination and Lightning Flash.

I’ve also had poems published by Smoke, The Interpreter’s House, Fire, Big Pulp, Nerve; and was shortlisted for the Ted Walters Writing Competition 2010 and 2011. A poem called ‘Tattoo’ was runner up in the Sefton Writing Competition 2012.

I am equally drawn to Yeats, JG Ballard and Tom Waits. And Erdinger Dunkel in the Poised Pen Attic bar.

The Ship & Mitre

The solitary drinker raises a pint

to his younger self in the bar-room mirror,

and to the older consulting a glass of brown beer.

 

Penitent at his usual scuffed table,

all versions drink slowly and deeply;

there is time to drink, to align the spirit

 

as last Friday’s five o’clockers renew before him,

filing into the pub like a ghost-congregation,

wave twenties at the barmaid sating this session.

 

His own bar presence assured,

there is time to drink, to soak the soul full.

At the bottom of the next porter it is the day

 

the Queen’s tunnel opens outside The Mitre,

shadows from the crowd pour into each window

where lunch-hour secretaries sip Mackeson’s stout,

 

keep tabs on the Guinness clock which loses fifty years,

and the crowd turns red awaiting Istanbul spoils-

every other scouser in a Tommy Cooper fez;

 

the Dale Street flyover packed as the navvies’ girder

in that early-century New York picture.

The pub never forgets.

 

Through the segments of the parlour-room window,

its glass frosted like a grab-handle tankard,

the pub mascot, Worzel Gummidge, tilts his head

 

and asks for a taste to wet the lips,

as stalks of hay rain from his holy suit.

There is time to drink, to rant, to sing.

 

Barrels rumble on cobblestones and the pub

shrinks to breath vanishing in a drained pint, 

ale soaking into the floorboards like blood.

 

 

Ashfield Crescent

The red-soaked doorstep, number four,
the cracked tree stump, memories of oak riding wind,
of green branches scraping the roof slate;
a dog all black tangles, idle in grass waving over,
its tail moving with the tide;
a cat on its side in the house’s shade,
one eye in periphery, the other drawn black,
one paw twitching, claws stretched;
a feeling of something distant.
A bicycle, bones against the wall,
a back-wheel reflector showing sun gradually,
the gradual bleeding of day in Summer.
A blue pullover, arms wrapped in each other,
a football stirring in time, shoes left at the step -
muddied beyond recognition, rust spreading.
The flowers that sometimes grow, the snowdrops
underneath the fiercest thicket; the rose bushes
reaching for the windows.

The house alone, the first house you see;
the chestnut brick, wind gently taking dust
from the avenues, the traces of wall.
The red door, red as sun on eyelids,
the light that falls through in beams;
the windows wide to take in air, the white curtains
set as ghosts to silently walk.
The higher windows that draw sun,
the wires that run like black veins; the shadow
it stands on the verge of, the perimeter,
the garden lying asleep at its feet.
The dead chimney, the slate-panelled roof
the darkest part; where the birds assemble
as if on a sea-cliff, perch the only concern -
tomorrow the distance.