Pram

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013
From the collection Growing Up Too Fast
Published in the Live From Worktown 2014 anthology

A bakery, takeaway, charity shop,
Chicco logo, scuffed shiny grey
plastic handles, bent-over bus-stop.
I’m showing you the park today.

Chicco logo, scuffed shiny grey,
cold sun-glare in both of our eyes.
I’m showing you the park today.
For now just look up at the sky.

Cold sun-glare in both of our eyes.
You lie back and see mummy’s chins.
For now just look up at the sky.
Keep flashing that fat kiddie grin.

You lie back and see mummy’s chins
and laugh at my upside-down smile.
Keep flashing that fat kiddie grin
and stop fiddling, just for a while,

and laugh at my upside-down smile!
Don’t notice my dirty old nails
and stop fiddling, just for a while-
look! Here’s the Pirates’ Nature Trail.

Don’t notice my dirty old nails,
plastic handles, bent-over bus-stop.
Look. Here’s the Pirates’ Nature Trail,
a bakery, takeaway, charity shop.

Advertisements

Slug Guts, or Entosthia Gymnosalianga

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013
From the collection Growing Up Too Fast

A boy spread strawberry jam on his toast, his father watched
and they stood a minute.
How come strawberries taste wet and bitter, he asked,
but jam is good and sticky?

The father looked over the tinged brown glasses he kept
from another century.
Because strawberry jam, he brass-rasped, nearly wept,
is raw slug slurry.

The stuff of ground, slain slugs is just too delicious,
so we call it squashed berries.
We grown-ups say it’s jam, tar our lives complicit
in sweet, shared atrocity.

Slugs’ organs are too tasty not to eat, the boy heard
and stale nose-breath eased onto him.
Strawberry jam is a clever word, lad. An old word.
A good word. A euphemism.

The father’s rusty eyes, round, brown, rested
and the boy glanced about.
His fingers stuck to the jar’s surface
where the juice had gotten out.

His flecked red tongue firmed in his mouth, clinging
at stained teeth like a prisoner.
The residue in his throat sucked, unreasoning,
begging for slime and moisture.

The father said, they bury the skins in the mud. His eyes
seemed heavy on his skull.
Each speck is scraped from flesh, slid off knives
’til the jam men’s pits are full.

The father’s iron, scratched hands scooped the toast
and the jaws did their lifework.
There are always good words, groaned his hard throat
with pip cracks and red slurps.

The boy reeled, reading ingredients, his father fed
and they stood a minute.
There were clever words in the kitchen and there was bread.
The jam was good and sticky.

Pins and Needles

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013
From the collection Growing Up Too Fast

Red Riding Hood stared
at the wolf man
at the crossroads
at the path of needles
and the path of pins.
The meaning was lost on her.

His yellow eyes were saturated
with wisdom.
The wolf knew
grandma would know
and the woodcutter could cut.
The girl had no idea.

The black paths had names
to do with sewing.
To solve the riddle,
to get through the woods,
you have to work out the best way,
the safe path.
Her feet were tingling.

Grey wolves are old sinners.
They know the stories
and know the needles
are easier in the long run.
The girl was big enough
to learn to sew the hard way.

Or else she was small enough
to be eaten up.

Whole.
Her choice.

To Die Would Be an Awfully Big Adventure

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013
From the collection Growing Up Too Fast

Peter says you’re growing up too fast.
Says you’re getting too big for your tree
and we can’t let you stay here forever.
You’ve had your time. You have to fly.
Maybe someone somewhere else will
come in the night for you?

Your stay on the island is finished.
Tink says you’d better run, you silly ass,
because Pan thins us out when we grow,
tells the rest we got away or got lost,
to the pirates or the redskins or the beast
with the clock in its gut.

The sun’s going down on the mainland
and the windows are barred back home.
Slightly says Tootles thinks you could swim
to Hook’s ship, if they don’t drown you.
Go build a new home in your dreams
boy. You’ll never come back.

It Happens All at Once

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013
From the collection Growing Up Too Fast

It happens all at once. One day
you’ll wake up, wash and dress and say-
I really must do all that work
then make things neat and meet some jerk
for bitter drinks and uncooked meals
and flat, black suits and needled heels.
Then when the fateful day is done
and some old mate calls up, someone
will fart or tell a sweary joke
and you’ll say, well I don’t think that’s funny.