Two Wonky Wheels

I grew up on a council estate in a deprived area. We didn’t have much, but we were happy, and we made the best of what we had. I had a wonky old bike which I thought was the business! It inspired me to write this spoken word poem.

Two Wonky Wheels

Two wonky wheels,
clattering over dirty pavements.
Muck covered, muck covered.
Grimy hands,
grimy knees,
grimy faces,
market clothes,
kids in droves,
snotty nose,
Ken Loach prose,
playing on the council close
with their car boot sale toys.

Two wonky wheels.
Buckled like my affluence as a kid.
Fags in the gutter, fags in the gutter.
But I didn’t give a shit.
What you don’t know,
isn’t in the conscious show.
We weren’t fancy.
But the wheels kept turning,
the kids kept learning,
the loans kept sharking,
and I wasn’t yearning,
for a life I didn’t know.

Two wonky wheels,
and no iPads, no iPads;
no posing lads
on Instagram.
No girls with fancy iPhones,
no parents taking extortionate loans
for their little darlings’ Xmas.
No Facebook,
no Instagram,
no Twitter,
no Tik Tok;
no screen time ending
when the clock
said two hours up,
now knock it off,
or I’ll ban it.

Two wonky wheels,
and we fought over marbles;
Action man, Action man;
Kiss chase AND –
the odd fumble behind the
derelict land
on the building site.
Giz a fag,
don’t tell yer ma,
have a polo
you nicked from the spa;
you came in when the streetlights
danced with the stars
and you travelled by foot
and not by car,
for your parents weren’t
minted.

Two wonky wheels,
two tired legs.
Oily ankles, oily ankles;
Didn’t matter to me
that my street was the dregs
of my council estate.
Cos we were content.
All the comics I lent,
all the cops who were bent,
all the errands I was sent
for my parents;
twenty Benson and Hedges
and a bottle of pop
to keep the kids happy.

And we WERE happy.

Sarah Drury

Between the Wars

Indigo blue
Inky canvas
One eye open
The other protesting
The estate slumbers
Another day of lockdown
A neighbourhood painted
In shades of apathy
As the world mourns
Its sorry dead

Beryl wakes at the crow
Of the cockerel
Says hello to her husband
Enjoying a pint in Heaven
For the last twenty years
Says a prayer to the virgin Mary
And asks Jesus to save her soul
From the coronavirus
God is her insurance policy
As she ain’t finished yet
In this heathen world

It reminds her of the war
But the bombs don’t fall
And the men aren’t swallowed
Into certain suicide
She would cower inside the
Air raid shelter
As the Luftwaffe played
Russian roulette
Missiles raining down
Picking off saints and sinners alike
And she prayed to Jesus
And he did good

Now the bombs are silent
Yet the killer is stealth-like
Stealing souls
Like a pandemic shoplifter
Light fingered Kelly
Is in good company
Though I’m sure the virus
Ain’t interested in Maybelline
Or L’oreal

Churchill led the nation
Now we have the Tories
No let up from fear mongering
As the media perform
In their catastrophic circus
And the BBC peddle tragedy
Like Boris Johnson is MacBeth
Whilst the government deny
Their role
In digging mass graves
To herd the old
And vulnerable in

She tucks into her egg
And Tetley’s
Another day of inane daytime TV
She heard that people Facetime
But she has no tribe
Jesus is her saviour
And God is her father
And the Virgin Mary
Sheds a tear
For the children
She lost

©2020 Sarah Drury

I was Alice’s Aunty Once

When I was a teen, I worked in a home for the elderly. One of the old ladies had dementia…

Fourteen years old
And radiating a future
Of fruitful tomorrows
In this graveyard for
The not yet dead
With the old bones
Rattling around in this
Old people’s home
One ear on the
Monotonous drone
Of dead eyed visitors
And one eye on
The steady tock
Of the analogue clock
As death permits
A last cup of tea

They had memories – Once
But these were stolen
And minds were broken
Words come tumbling
Out like retrospective
Dramas spoken
Wartime lovers
Dancing with hope
This hopeless dance
With feet that may not
March next week
As they savour
The last of their rations

I was Alice’s aunty once
As I led her to her
Favourite chair
Skin so parchment thin
Her story was written
In the spiderlike veins
And downy hair
Eyes trusting as a child
That thinks it’s going
To Paris
But is cruelly going
Nowhere decent
Nowhere they could feast
On warm croissants

I wondered
Was this aunt
Loved
And hoped that
I could share a bit
Of my naïve heart
I prayed I could lovingly play
A nurturing movie star
In her world of
Broken dolls and
Tattered teddy bears
Where she was now
The child
And I, the child
Was now
Very grown up
Indeed.

© 2020 Sarah Drury

Hitler

My Great Grandmother suffered from mental illness after seeing both her boyfriend and her husband killed in tragic circumstances. She had a breakdown during world war II and thought the Germans would come and steal her daughter (my grandmother). As a result she was taken into an asylum for many years and my grandmother was shunted from pillar to post. Here’s a tribute…

Hitler

I thought
I heard
The Germans
Advancing
Upon
My doorstep

I cower
Eyes peeled
For an
Aryan invasion

Blonde child
Running wild
They’ll
snatch her away
I say

Terrors drip off
My fearful tongue
Stagnant puddles
Of hysteria
Seep into
The cracks
Of my
Disintegration
Psychological
Photosynthesis

No wonder the
Psychosis
Paints a Jackson Pollock
Within my
Fucked up mind
Red the colour
Of dead
My hands I wring
And snap necks
Enemies falling
Like pigeon shit

And Hitler
Can
Kiss my
English ass.

© 2020 Sarah Drury

Iceland

I wrote this poem as a spoken word piece, in response to this coronavirus pandemic, through the eyes of an elderly person who has lived through world war two.

Five hundred quid
Worked all my life for five hundred quid
Ooo, these Tena ladies are on offer
Worked my hands to the bone and my back to the knackers yard, I did
Funny times we live in, funny times
Corona-whatsit rampant, country in lockdown
Just like the war
Our big grown prime minister falling to the floor
Sick people in and out the revolving doors
Crying and dying on hospital floors
People telling me to stay indoors
Only so much of Piers Morgan I can take
And I’m bleeding sick of doing chores
Ooo look, choccy digestives, two for one fifty
Just like the war
But not living on a lump of cheese, a tin of spam and a packet of dried egg
Bring back rationing, it should be the law
All these feckin crazy people
Strippin shelves bare
Hoarding the toilet roll like they don’t care
About how others fare
Oh, I’ll have some of those
Rice pudding, fifty pence a tin
Its strange times, its mad times we’re in
Can’t even go down the bingo
Can’t remember the last time I had a win
Hair like a Brillo pad, legs like scourers
Can’t remember the last time I plucked the hairs on my chin
It does this to you
All this social isolation
Wrapping clingfilm around a rebellious nation
And the government have this mental expectation
That we will be sheep
Clothed in the wool of allegation
Don’t go out
Wash your hands
Keep two metres between you
Do as we say, or we’ll impose a curfew
It’s just like the war
Except you don’t have to don your guns
And kill a visible enemy
We’re fighting something global we can’t even see
All we have to do is stay inside and watch the death tolls on TV
And I pray every day that one of those intensive care beds won’t be me.
Ooo loo roll
I’ll need that
Back in the war I’d wipe my bum with newspaper
The stories of the day plastered over my derriere
My neighbour popping by to see if I had some spare
And the air raid sirens would scream
And we’d be woken from our dreams
Of victory
Playing hide and seek with the bombs that rained down
Dot to dot on the roofs of the houses of our little town
Taking refuge in the shelters
Taking refuge in the neighbours
Taking refuge in the strangers
And though we were fighting for freedom
We were still free
Oh, tinned fruit cocktail
Will do for my trifle
Put it in my cupboard full
Of empty shelves
In my kitchen of a lonely life.
Better go home now
Better go home.

©2020 Sarah Drury