From the scuffed penalty spot I can just about see
Lismore comprehensive, its grey squares of learning,
where we were all equal in uniform until the collar chafed
to be loosed. We learned to curl the edges, add belt buckles,
notice just how short Sinead Coyle’s skirt was.
Another smashed window moved into the Rice’s old house,
a whole row now, the jagged mouths that speak to me
as I pass, sure of their words. Granda used to tell me
about the plans for a high speed train from Craigavon to the future,
so fast you’ll hardly see it son.
I see, hear, taste it as it takes it’s time through
the balancing lakes, seeing us but not stopping
as it comes and goes between Belfast and Dublin.
I took up plumbing because no one else did,
like what did Johnny McNair know about film studies?
Well other than what his father never taught him
in the videotapes marked ‘old episodes of Bonanza’.
My first call out involved watching Mrs Doherty shuffle
off to get a soggy rich tea biscuit as reward for changing
a washer on a faucet. The pipes round here rattled
no matter how tightly I wrenched them close.
These goal posts are made for many sports
ball games during the day, during the night adults played
hide and seek but never found each other.
Maybe a street sweeper or someone up early
for a shift in Silverwood galvanisers might find me,
straining with all my weight to break the bar fully.