HELEN AND THE GUNS.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
A BOY AND GIRL IN 1950S LONDON

Submitted: May 14, 2014

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Submitted: May 14, 2014

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Why do you wear
your guns back to front
in the holsters?
Helen asked me

as we walked
the bomb site
by Meadow Row
I saw this cowboy

in a film
at the cinema
have his like this
and you cross

your hands over
and get your guns
isn't it slower
that way?

she asked
no it's speed that matters
not how
you wear your guns

I said
I showed her
how quick I was
and she stood bemused

clutching her doll
Battered Betty
tightly to her chest
haven't you got

caps in your guns
to make them
sound real?
she asked

no I ran out
and anyway
I can make
the sound myself

by going
BANG BANG
she jumped away
holding Battered Betty

to her chest
you could have told me
you were going
to make that loud

banging noise
Betty got frightened
I looked at her
tightly woven plaits

of hair
and thick lens glasses
and her small hands
holding the doll

sorry Betty
I said
patting the doll's head
I put the guns away

and we walked
to the New Kent Road
and along
under the railway bridge

and by the Trocadero cinema
gazing at the billboards
and small pictures
of films

being shown
you can come
with me here
on Saturday

I said
they've got
a good cowboy film
showing

haven't any money
for the cinema
Mum said
she can't afford it

Helen said
my old man'll
cough up some money
if I ask

I said
she looked at me
Mum'll let me go
if you ask her

Helen said
ok let's go
ask her now
I said

so we walked
to Helen's house
and I told her
about how I practised

drawing my guns
everyday
she looked at Betty
but whether

she was listening
to me
or not
I couldn't say.


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