Paul Tristram

Link to home pageLink to current issueLink to back issuesLink to information about the magazineLink to submission guidelinesSend email to

There’ll Be A Lot Of Police Activity In My General Vicinity
Later On This Evening

We were in The Coach House pub on Wind Street
for a prison release celebration party.
Davey Shankler had just finished a 12 stretch
(Full term, he’d been a bit naughty inside!)
for killing a ‘grass’ up in Pontardawe with a shotgun.
(He’d beaten him to death with the butt of it!)
He drank his first pint of Welsh Bitter down in one
at the bar and then ordered 3 more for himself.
(Well, the poor Bastard had been living on cell-hooch,
valium and fucking memories for over a decade!)
When he uttered the immortal words
“There’ll be a lot of police activity
in my general vicinity later on this evening!”
We all laughed and cheered “Amen To That!”
until we saw the serious look upon his determined face.
He explained that he’d been writing to the widow,
she’d started it with a letter asking him ‘Why?’
The correspondence had carried on all these years,
eventually turning romantic, finally downright dirty.
Even though she had married her dead husband’s
younger brother 18 months after the funeral.
(She needed a man about the place to feel safe!)
Well, after 6 more beers he was going to get a taxi
to The Gun Shop to buy himself a crossbow.
Then after going to visit his Mam quickly (Bless her!)
he was going up to Mayhill where she had relocated
to finally claim his prize and take back what was his.
After 2 more pints we got him out into the beer garden,
it took 3 of us 5 minutes to knock the cunt out.
We finally got him over to a crack den in Neath
where it took 4 and a half days of hookers, cocaine
and bareknuckle scrapping to get him to see the error
of his ways, sort his head out and finally see sense.

Being Awake This Early Is Stupid
When You’ve Got Nothing Worth Getting Up For

It was my second stint in rehab,
I didn’t have a chance to say ‘no, no, no’
Cardiff Crown Court had sent me there.
I had become a danger to myself
and everyone around me
whilst intoxicated
and I was intoxicated all the time.
It was 6 months of this
or 18 months of prison
(you do the maths here?)
It was my third morning
and I’d had enough already.
All that head therapy,
feelings and shit.
I was thinking about breeching
and getting back on that prison wing.
When a staff member
walked into the room and shouted
“Rise and shine,
it’s 7:30am
and a wonderful day to be alive!”
The guy in the bed opposite
(I was sharing a room with a heroin junkie
who’d been homeless for over a decade!)
yawned back in disbelief
“Being awake this early is stupid
when you’ve got nothing
worth getting up for.”
“Why, you’ve got your Sobriety
to get up for, silly!”
The junkie rose up on one elbow
and stated in a worn-out voice
“I’ve been through some shit in my time.
Some kids set fire to me
in a derelict building last summer.
My wife and son died in a car crash
nigh on 15 years ago.
My mother shot my father
and then disowned me at age ten.
I’ve been in and out of prison 34 times
but I swear,
as sure as God’s abandoned me.
If you ever say that to me again
you will be the straw
that breaks this camel’s back.
Now trot off back to your office
and I will be with you
when I’m good and ready!”
I belly laughed,
it was miraculous,
I shuddered and shaked
with tears running down my face.
They didn’t breech him
and I didn’t end up breeching myself.
We became firm friends instead,
his name was ‘Two Aerosmith’s’
because he’d taken enough drugs
to kill that fucking band twice over.


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: