Paul Tristram

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Spider’s Bar

It used to be situated down the far end of Bastard’s Back Lane.
Close to the wharf, train tracks and canal
(Plenty of escape routes and rat runs).
Only the dirtiest Rock & Roll & Punk bands played there…
some of them would even do it for just a free Bar Tab.
Instead of a ‘Bed & Breakfast’ sign out front
it had ‘Wooden Floor Pallet & Hair-Of-The-Dog for 10 Nicker’
… I’ve seen up to 20 drunken men 
all skipper-down in the side garage overnight,
all snoring and a-farting away quite happily.
The old brick outhouse at the back
was in constant use of an evening,
with half-cut patrons partaking of adulterous knee-tremblers,
or junkies smoking crack pipes or injecting smack.
It survived both fire (Twice) and flood,
and was spun more times, and temporarily closed,
by both Drug & Vice Squads,
than anyone can count or remember.
The Landlord wallpapered the poolroom
with spent ‘Search Warrants’ & ‘Antisocial Complaint Notices’.
I lived there, on and off, for around 18 months,
up in the attic with 3 of the boys… crazy times.
It’s a derelict now, a teenage moped gang of street-robbers use it.
Drinking Holes like that don’t come around very often,
they slip quickly into Legend & burn far too brightly to last.

Digging Your Injuries, Mate… Nice One!

I finally came around from the new blackout
upon a solid Police Station bunk,
under one of those thin, blue, plastic mattresses.
I instantly snapped shut the lid of my mind,
and stopped it going off, to chase its own tail,
worrying about what might have happened?
… I’d find that out soon enough.
There was light coming through the glass block window,
which meant I could be walking free
(On Bail) in only a few more hours…
depending upon what sort of nonsense
and trouble I’d gotten myself into again?
To pass the time, I lay there listening
to a guy in the next cell, pacing the floor heavy,
and arguing with himself and an invisible girlfriend.
To cut a long story short…
nothing was his fault, ever, and she was a complete cunt
(Hey, we must be fucking the same woman, I smiled).
He was obviously ‘Speeding’ as well as drunk,
and as erratic as a violent schizophrenic’s handwriting.
About an hour passed, in this fashion,
and I’d belly-laughed on a few occasions,
when his cell door was noisily flung open
and they threw someone else in there with him.
He was ecstatic, and all over his new friend instantly
“Jesus Christ, mate, you must have give ‘em hell,
just look at the state of you, fair play…
they’re some wounds to be proud of, you lucky bastard!”
Now, I’ve heard some right old slaps in my time,
but, that fucker was an absolute belter,
it reverberated right through the walls,
I screamed “Ha!”, and that was the last noise heard
until footsteps stopped outside my door, half hour later.

Artwork by Gene McCormick

Come The Morning, When She’s Rifled Through Your Pockets

… and snuck off to score some Smack.
Your blinding headache’s clanging
and banging like an old prison yard bell.
Your faithful friend
‘Daisy The Hangover From Hell’
has been crouching over your wretched body
just waiting for you to spasm awake.
It must be an upstairs flat?
for the cold water tap is running lukewarm.
After an airing cupboard and the toilet,
you finally find the front door to freedom.
The gutter sways giddily
as you make it out onto the hard pavement,
and scan left to right for a pubic house
to try and ascertain some form of direction.
At least you’re still in the city centre, this time,
instead of somewhere out-in-the-sticks,
picturesque, unrelenting and Godless.
There’s a strong smell of freshly baked bread
(It must still be early morning)
you gag and hurry on by, holding your breath
and trying to stem the stomach bile…
there are CCTV cameras everywhere
and you have been nicked for far less.
I think she said her name was Claudia?
and I made a vague promise I’d never keep,
whilst she swore she’d love me forever,
and talked of other things I’ll never understand.
But, those words don’t mean shit (On both sides)
in the cruel light of this new day…
yet, I’m grateful for those few blurry hours
of drunken warmth and intimacy
sometimes a simple ‘Recharging’ is all you need,
to help keep you traversing on your wandering way.

No, Sorry Love… He Can’t Come Out To Play Kirby… He’s In That Fucking Police Station Again

Aye, nabbed him earlier on this morning,
took his brother and a couple of cousins an all.
‘Spun’ the house, fucking state of the place,
I only cleaned it top to bottom yesterday.
Even went in my knicker drawer, dirty animals…
I said to the blonde one with the warrant
“You’ll Find Fuck All In There, Sunshine!”
Oh hell, your Stevie was with them, was he…
what’s that now, second or third time in?
When’s he turn 10 year old? Next March…
there you go, mun, they can’t touch him,
you’ll have him back home this afternoon…
bollocking is all he’ll get, you just watch now.
Oh, he got home half hour ago did he,
you wanna tell your Mam from me
to keep him far away from my oldest,
fucking right troublemaking little bastard he is,
just like his father, I must have been mental.
Criminal Damage, Theft of garden tools
(Which the daft cunts were carrying as weapons),
Juvenile Delinquency and Causing Civil Fear
and Unrest in half of the fucking Borough
is what I was told… fancy jargon and bullshit
for being a fucking nuisance about the place.
There’s just no need of it all the time, mun,
I know they’re young lads and full of mischief
but if they’ve got to scrap like headers
they should just fight each other, innit…
that’s why I went to all the bloody trouble
of spitting the second one out, for fuck sake!


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.
Buy his book Scribblings Of A Madman (Lit Fest Press)