Paul Tristram

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Yeah, But Underneath All That Psychopath Nonsense…
He’s A Really Nice Guy?

There were two women in their early 40’s,
covered in homemade tattoos,
smoking Lambert & Butler’s
and dressed like bottom-end council estate chavs.Artwork by Gene McCormick
Standing outside the Prison Visiting Gate
waiting for opening time,
talking loudly and either uncaring or oblivious
to everyone else standing about.
“Yeah, but underneath all that psychopath nonsense
… he’s a really nice guy.
He’s a bit handy with his fists
but at least you know where you stand with him.”
“Aye, he stopped Susan’s eldest
getting attacked, raped or God knows what
by three men in that lane opposite The Nag’s Head.
Beat seven shades of shite out of them he did
… she had to give him a blowjob as thanks
but all the same you know, he’s a hero.”
“He’s the fucker you’d want ‘round
if you were ever to get burgled, innit.”
“I heard he’s always slapping around
nonces and grasses in there… dew, dew, mun,
he shouldn’t be locked up
he does more good than them fucking police,
bastards always picking on our kids they are.”
“What’s he in this time for anyway?”
“Armed robbery… but mind you
if they will go sticking all that money together
in one building it’s bound to tempt people, innit,
I think it serves them right if you ask me!”

Beer Garden Bulimia & Bullshit

I absolutely love it out here,
you never know what’s coming next?
Last week they got a crack rock dealer,
in mid air,
jumping for that wall… tasered him.
I saw him in the 24 hour Tesco’s last night
buying beer and Rizla papers
he’s still got ‘South West Water’
imprinted on his face
from the manhole cover he landed on.
Kevin Coed stripped naked
and knifed himself in the stomach
two Saturday’s ago
because Slack Sally
fucked off home with Stu the Glue.
And old Billy Firecracker
holds the 27 pints of Guinness drinking title
but give him half a small glass of red wine
and he literally shits himself.
Aye, within three and a half minutes
(You can time your watch by it!)
and the daft twat can’t say no to alcohol,
his dead ancestors would turn in their graves
or some other kack like that
so you can just imagine the fun we have.
Bollocks to the TV, innit,
you’d be mad to stay at home, mun.

Ten Green Bottles Hanging On The Wall

I remember one such surreal incident
which kept me nailed to the EdgeArtwork by Gene McCormick
instead of going right over it.
I awoke in the Old Neath Police Station,
from the graffiti I could tell it was Cell 2.
I was mercilessly hungover,
banged up (Excuse the pun!) rather bad
and covered in half dried blood,
some of which was my very own.
And it just dawned on me that this was it,
I was losing my mind completely
and at any second something would snap
inside my twisted psyche
which I would never recover from.
I was absolutely, positively certain of this.
If I was to have the slightest chance of
fighting this I needed something to focus on
… but I was locked up on my own
without even smoking materials.
There was nothing I could do but pace
and welcome in the approaching madness.
At that very moment the voice of an old drunk
in the next Cell started singing
the counting song ‘Ten Green Bottles’.
And I smiled and felt the tension crack,
I looked up to the dirty Cell ceiling
and said “Thank You!” three times.
Then I laid down upon the bunk,
put my head on the wooden pillow,
closed my eyes and listened peacefully
to his beautiful, angelic voice
carrying me backwards through childhood.

© Paul Tristram 2016


Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet.
His book Scribblings Of A Madman (Lit Fest Press) is available here