I've enjoyed the lively contributions so far, sorry to be a bit late getting involved everybody in the household has a birthday this week = loads of cake but also = no time.
I had a poem jump out at me after reading Vanessa's Elizabeth Bishop, here it is;
Pool by Padraig Rooney
‘There’s always a pool parlour wherever one goes (think I’ll use this line in a poem)
if one gets bored – Elizabeth Bishop, Letters
There’s always a pool parlour wherever one goes,
I travel light, with a two-hit screw-together cue
in this customised case, my monogram worked
into the Italian leather. I looked like a hit man,
or - woman, in the old days, stepping off the trains
into a scuzzy underworld where I’d play pool,
professionally, for money - in those station pool
parlours cum barbershops where the Mafia goes.
I’d chat up hoods in the smokers of the trains -
faggot amateur, they'd think, fingering my screwy cue,
but time and again they fell for it to a man.
My smooth-faced con trick always worked.
In these Med towns the men are over-worked
or on the dole. Either way they're game for pool.
I loved the crack of the break, the man-to-man
lickety-split of the shoeshine boy as he goes
about his blowjob in the john, the tick of the cue
in smoke blue parlours underneath the trains.
Ah, those runaway cross-dressers riding the trains
with stiletto hearts and false eyelashes. They'd worked
nights since they were boys and could come right on cue!
On bank holiday weekends we'd celebrate and pool
our stakes, live it up in Naples or in Rome. Money goes
quickly with low-life Romeos. I took it like a woman,
but where it mattered I potted them like a man,
one by one under arriving and departing trains,
the reds, the yellows, the blues. Luck comes and goes
but with me it's skill in adversity that's always worked
the hormone rush that comes with beating men at pool
I’ve had since I was twelve, and chalked my first cue.
My Scrabble dictionary says it's a variation of queue.
You wouldn’t care to play to pass the time, young man?
I’m a dab hand at Scrabble, but nothing like I am at pool.
And we’ve hours to kill before we board our trains.
Truth is con-man tricks haven't really worked
in these termini for years. Youth too comes and goes,
like a cue-ball potting back and forth in sixteen goes.
I’m worked to death these days picking up a man,
And a spot of pool might do the trick until our trains.
For me the whole poem is a metaphor for boredom, waiting, face value being unlike reality and a false/real conflict being fought inside the hustler.
cue , n.: a hint on a card, a smooth and slippery ball
My deaf mute cousin watches the shopping channel
feet twist tangled
on the pressure sensor
starting block top step
of the Tartan Bar
Scottish Janice in
twin-set & tam o’ shanter
dabs organ teeth
criss cross colours
sun yellow octaves
gorgeous rose under forty
cue card marker
between the rain and the rainbows
dirty wasn’t it?
a bit dreich she said
silence me mittens
conch my ears
to your chest
turn the colours up
shout nothing subtle
fingerprints my tongue
E I N
T H E B
O X H A Z
A R D A G U
E S S W H A T
T H A T I S
Boredom, disguise, falsehood and tragedy made me think of shopping channels, where weather is cue carded in an attempt to add reality to the slippery sale of tat and clutter. The concrete image of a bar I visited many years ago where a different world of tartan and easy listening emerged at the top of the stairs gives way to abstract imagery gained directly from a shopping channel. The vague or misleading descriptions used on the channel suited abstraction for me as these programmes seemed not to be tethered to anything concrete either. The sight chart at the end is a 'guessing game' I saw on one show where the intrigue far outweighed the awful jewelry on sale!