Tea Service


Stanley sweeps up the shards of Clarice Cliff,

checks out the wound on the bridge of his nose

lights up the first of sixty cigarettes

washes dry blood stains from yesterday’s clothes.


Empty Bell’s clutched in his squalid embrace

Oliver slumps snoring, favourite chair.

Motionless now while mid afternoon,

charmless unconscious absorbed paranoia.


Stanley leaves early, the first of three jobs

sole breadwinner keeping up his income

single support for this comic odd couple

one stout, one thin, one out, one in.


Both charming once, amusing and kind,

like the art deco collection, very fine

now bent on a mission to self destruct

and contrive to wipe out the best that they have.


Oliver waking starts surfing the net

infiltrates innocent neighbour’s broadband

slowly thus stretching his work free days

searching online for internet porn.


Later after dark a meeting or two

at a local beauty and pick up spot

maybe with luck he’ll score in the car

enterprise risky in every respect.


Stan sits at home with his TV remote

cat curled contented upon his lap

tries hard to figure why he should stay

just too afraid and alone to be free.


Reflect amid remains of broken crocks,

relationship and whisky on the rocks

I am hit in the face again and again

the shock of violence between grown men.

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