WIDE-EYED STARE 1956

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: April 25, 2016

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Submitted: April 25, 2016

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We were on the grass
in front of Banks House
looking at the coal wharf
lorries being loaded with coal
and a few horse-drawn wagons
waiting there too

they must get dirty
Janice said
with coal all day

I guess they do
I said
and have to climb up
all those stairs of the flats
with a heavy sack of coal
on their back
and then have to tip it
into those coal bunkers
in the kitchen/bathroom

Gran doesn't like it
when they come
making a mess
and she has ago at them
if they drop
any coal on the floor
Janice said

I passed her the Tizer bottle
I'd bought from the shop
over the road
and she unscrewed the top
and took a mouthful
then put the lid back on
and past it to me

I unscrewed the top
and took a gulp
and screwed
the lid back on

want a bun?
I asked her
I've got 6

ok
she said

and I opened the paper bag
for her and she took one
and nibbled it

I took one
and took a big bite

Gran's canary says
a few words
of the Lord's Prayer
Janice said
holding the bun aside
from her lips

what words does it say?

deliver us from evil
Janice said

who taught the bird that?
I asked

Gran did
said it was are minder to us
Janice said

doesn't it say the words
I taught it?
I said

no not anymore
Gran was not happy
about that
Janice said
and I nearly got a smacking
because she thought
I'd taught him

sorry about that
I said
it seemed funny
at the time

Gran didn't think so
Janice said

I offered her
the Tizer bottle again
and she took another mouthful
and gave it back to me

I took a gulp
and put the bottle
on the grass

is your gran religious then?
I said

o yes
Janice said
she takes me to church every Sunday
do you go?

now and then
I said
usually to the gospel place
down Rockingham Street
by the railway bridge

is it good there?
she said

yes it's all right
some old girl plays the piano
and we sing hymns and such
and then have biscuits
and orange juice afterwards
and one of the blokes
talks about God or Jesus
they're having a trip
to the seaside soon
want to come?
I said

is it dear to go?
she said

no it's free
paid by the gospel group
I said

could I go?
she said

course I'll see
One-Eye about you
I said

who's One Eye?
she said

he's one of the organisers
only got one eye

how comes he's
only got one eye?
Janice said

lost it the war I think
I said

I'll ask Gran
if I can go
she said

ok
I said

and we lay on the grass
looking up at the clouds
in the blue sky

I told her about
the Treasure Island book
I bought from the shop
through the Square

she said nothing
but lay there
with a wide-eyed stare.


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