The Scratch on the Wall
The scratch on the wall
In the brand new coffee shop
That opened last April in the town where I live
Detracted from its perfection.
How glad we were!
That after all those weeks of healthy anticipation,
And a little nervousness about a town
So pokey as ours having a coffee shop in the first place,
It should be revealed as
Just as clumsy and as tottering
And as amateur and as ham-fisted as everything else here.
I wished I lived in a city.
On the Question of Mister Shaw’s Private Life
For years, carved in hot melted tarmac
In the suburban commuter town where I grew up, the words
Mister Shaw is a Tosser
A permanent memorial to a teacher
Long since, having passed through, forgotten by most,
His name a mystery to succeeding generations.
He lived in a flat tacked to the side
Of the church hall. I suppose it came with his job
In our C of E middle school.
The place might even have seemed exotic, bohemian
Divorced from the humdrum of growing up,
Though, a deeply religious young man,
Probably he disapproved of anything remotely bohemian.
My dad said he walked as if he had
A roll of lino under his arm.
Jutting chin, and the Alex Hurricane Higgins hairstyle
Of the early 1980s.
Was Mister Shaw a tosser? No, he was reasonable.
He encouraged me to write, and for that,
I shall never inquire as to what he got up to
In his church hall bachelor pad,
Scene of nativity plays and jumble sales,
Whether tossing or not.
By Robert Garnham
Originally from Surrey, Robert writes poems, plays and short stories and peforms comedy performance poetry every now and then. His play ‘Fuselage’ was rehearse-read at the Exeter Northcott Theatre in 2009 by a professional company and he also acted in a professional production of Sarah Kane’s ‘Crave’. He has just finished his first novel, ‘Acrobats in the Bus Station’.