2016 Basil Bunting Poetry Award Second Prize
‘Love’, not ‘Pet’ (Saltney Melancholy)
Cutting the engine at St Deiniol’s,
it’s 8.45 and the sun has just dragged
itself out of slumber. Same place I’ve come from:
stomach a stone of Christmas Stilton.
In the road opposite the aerodrome
the taxi beeps round the bus
whose driver flops a fag out the window
because it’s still twenty three days ’til pay
so why not start as you mean to go on?
Opposite, another Godforsaken pub
offers cheap Jägerbombs next door
to a Heddlu whose patrols will span
the nameless bridge over the Dee estuary
where Beak-addicted border lads
will shoot up Blacon and Garden City.
Meanwhile, cutting the engine at St Deiniol’s
I think about these days ahead.
Like Saltney, I’m caught
between an English life and a Welsh.
Between a past I know too well
and a future of the Broughton Retail Park.
Caught between this three-quarter tank
and fields carrying the floods.
Between the waste removal truck
with the Everton flag in its cabin
and the Mercedes A-Class making
its way to the year’s first boardroom bore.
Between my last and next coffee
in Gladstone’s Reading Rooms
which I’ll take with Louisa
who’ll ask about my work, who I’ll tell
and the canteen girl will collect
my mug and say ‘love’, not ‘pet’.