Charles Bronson was thirty feet short,

didn’t make the trees - spooks sprung

caught some, murdered fifty more.

I wasn’t spending time, without wi-fi

in a Manc cooler -  – my plans were solid.

I sat in the stifling embrace, sod-sweat

damp kissed by the tease of tiger balm

and familiar tones, Ando and Throw –

warming up, cheering me up.

I wanted to jump from my tunnel

but I’d wait, until the ref’s whistle.

They wouldn’t throw me out?

Not after all that effort, surely?

Then my phone rang, it was her

“Can you pick me up after work?”

“I can’t”

“Why are you whispering?”

She hung up.

I sat in the dark, drinking cold tea

until the flask was empty

then worked the spoon

gently round and round

blinking away the crumbles

of City soil – ten grand a square inch.

A rush of air, under a blue fabric sky

“Alan! Alan! Here! Down here!

Move the towel, big man!”

Silence – jeez, what’s it about goalies?

Scunnered, I risked a Hamlet – smiled,

this was classic old school.

Steve McQueen taught me well.

I burned a wee hole

in the cloth, just enough

to poke a view of the goalmouth.

Just before the ref blew his whistle.

And the game? Not a classic.

Not worth the admission.

Not worth the grief from her

for not picking her up,

being missing for four days,

for being a spoon short

in the set her mother gave us,

for leaving my work flask ten feet

under Man City’s Training Ground.


But listen! Come closer -

don’t tell anyone but

Aquerro shaves his legs.