Making the most – by Julian Dobson

 

I feel these four walls closing in, she says
in this town where shuttered pizza shops
jostle with boarded pubs. You can still get
a quick tan here, mind you, as North Sea wind
scuffs the slates from roofs, as squat hills
behind the main street slump towards the sea.

I have my memories, though, she says,
her grasshopper legs braced against a frame,
aye, that’s what matters. All those memories
blowing like crisp packets dancing down gutters
growing like lichen crusting yellow stone
stuck like chewing gum on library floors.

Count your blessings, that’s the thing, she says
count till you lose track of numbers, count
blessings like pigeons roosting under bridges
blessings like starlings whistling from wires.
Count them as you’d count slippery churchyard steps,
as you’d count odd socks, teaspoons, missing friends.

 

 

 

Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield, England, home of the famous Henderson’s Relish. His poems have appeared in publications including Magma, Under the Radar, and Acumen, and on a bus in Guernsey. More of his work is at 52poemsinayear.wordpress.com

Manor Park, E12 – by Julian Dobson

 

In a city where the stars were out of sight
they named streets after astronomers,
but we were telescoped into a world of fumes
and sirens, burned out cars, abandoned mattresses.

In seven years there were four murders in this road.
The businessman bulleted in his restaurant; the dealer
bludgeoned in an upstairs flat; a man that no-one knew;
and a woman, found face down in a sluice.

But I remember Tony from Dominica, whose laugh
exploded like a Caribbean sun; lonely Krish,
who cooked the best potato curry in the world;
and you, beaming, when you first rode your purple bike.

 

 

Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield, home of the famous Henderson’s Relish. His poems have appeared in publications including Brittle Star, The Interpreters’ HouseAcumen, and on a bus in Guernsey. More of his work is here.

Jeff’s Watch – by Julian Dobson

 

Jeff’s got himself a watch. White-bearded,
shuffling, he’s hooped it on his sleeve,
four dials on display. One marks the hours
in Sheffield, where men call each other duck,
think they’ll bob up whenever they go down.

Another tells the time in Israel: like ancient
mapmakers, Jeff’s world spins on Jerusalem.
The third’s a might-be-useful stopwatch; the fourth
a compass. He knows his north,
brews Sunday coffees for his homeless pals.

He bought his timepiece from a street stall,
cheap as chips and no more made to last.
Clock Jeff instead: he doesn’t wheel and deal,
won’t waste a word, is regular
as mates, as homelessness, as love.

 

 

Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield, home of the famous Henderson’s Relish. His poems have appeared in publications including Brittle Star, The Interpreters’ HouseAcumen, and on a bus in Guernsey. More of his work is here.