The notebooks had been marinating.
These bars are like Petri dishes.
Slapped arses and talk of tight pussy
multiply until you feel you’re in on it.
The mire that is a small seaside town.
This one guy had a thing
for hidden cameras and anal sex –
more a bad feeling than a person.
Framed pornography, gold satin sheets.
A mad ex-girlfriend had knifed
his shoes he said. No way to forget
memories that aren’t yours.
Barmen, constants in a flux of young women.
The man you love recalls how he would
batter his way through the end
of an evening all blood and scrap.
You return years later full of words
to see a stumbling girl gripped by the wrist,
pulled giggling towards a back room
and there’s a moment of clarity.
Truly shocking –
not to shout in the voice of a woman
but to calmly place an arm on each shoulder
and draw a knee up hard between his legs.
Left fist. Right fist.
Thrilling to make impact with a face
however weakly – no tears, no apparent reason.
You’ve never looked better. How gently
the bouncer put you down outside the fire escape.
How gorgeously wrong you were – fast
and hard and quietly mad. Take a bow,
they are applauding in the kebab shop.