Orson 'steve' Claridge

This Poem is a Waste of Space!

(Quality verses Quantity)

Skipping through my copy of the latest
Friendly Street Anthology
he falls upon ‘The telephone’.
A fractured poem of 20 words.

I study him for lack of reaction.

“This poem is a waste of space,” he snaps.
“Obviously the person who wrote it
didn’t know what they were talking about!
If they did,
they’d have been able to fill up the whole page”.

I nod in disagreement.

he pushes on.
“It looks more like an aerial view
of a snowbound sheep station
than a poem.
I’m a city person myself.”

I follow him to ‘No Through Road’.

Later, when he’s gone
I thumb my way to that “Snowbound Station”,
and follow his prints.
They circle the perimeter
in ever unsteady smudges
tramping the same ground, over and over.
Not once slipping
between the buildings
to look through the windows
at the people
who live there.

From Friendly Street No. 19


Cushioned by
a nipple width of warmth
your breasts tease my ear
to attention,
and shunt my thoughts
back to schoolyard days
when the snake-charming rhythm
of a train
would entice me
4, 5, 6 stations
past my stop,
all the way wrestling
a pocketful of erection.

And seated still
I ask for a No. 1.
You take a bit more off the top.
Time lopped, my hair short,
you stand
clippers in hand
as I try
to will myself
and more manageable.

From Friendly Street No. 19

Passionately Passive

Beyond belief, even your name
was false,
a password into anonymity, you joked.

But in grief
everything became sanitised,
If it wasn’t for Charlie,
I’d be joining me Mum.

And despite your penchant for dishonesty
I believed you,
I believed it true.

That last day
you looked as-interested,
as though your heart had tightened into a fist.
I remember feeling annoyed
at your lack of conviction,
your flippant remarks,
as we circled the space
between us.

I leant over the pusher, gave Charlie
a final kiss.
You shrugged your shoulders.

At length we shook hands.

Then, with all the seriousness
of a death bed confession,
you said that I was your only friend,
your only real friend.
That once I was gone, there’d be no-one,

I shrugged my shoulders, laughed,
and left.

You always were a liar.

From Friendly Street No. 22