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I still think in-sync with the ceremonial intro.
Even though its reduced to unclaimed brick,
I visit naughty corridors and assembly halls
decorated in sports equipment.

After showing off my award,
I ***** out candles
and bolt that horse to a new port village
where clubs buried in earth
begin to dent
my naivity.

But tweed remained fashion.
A collage of uniform, green fields and tennis courts
resembled my life in the trench.
Words like 'posh' and 'snob' were the only examples of difference

until I became a witness.
Discovered homelessness
meant vagrants. They
became as common as a boxed sandwich.

Everybody has their own intoxication of choice.
Bargain of choice, newspaper
of choice, where Brookside
is a crossword answer
filled whilst feeding mallards
white bread in the park.

Writing that
makes me the biggest hypocrite of all.
I grew fond of plays. Began to write poetry.
What would they think of me?
A **** football match where the ref cost us the game
still pumps through my veins,

I assure thee.
That left ventricle breathes here too.
War has never been declared
but the battles have existed since
before Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.

It's estate versus estate.
As much as I'm up for a fight,
history won't change overnight -
especially in an election,
selfie posted
or status shared
with a handful of friends
who actually voted.

Living in the middle of Common-
wealth is a lonely place.
But there will be a hotel monopoly of vacancies
built on my mediocre grave
if I acknowledge the better
or lesser sort
themselves. After all,
I ate processed chicken breast
and ignored politics myself.

Perhaps now,
it's time
to act like the squirrel.
Barks become growls, become
quacks, become
the fool
again.
Poem #30 from my collection 'A Shropshire Grad'. The closing poem tries to explain the class division theme of the collection and how I can move forward.
Alfred Edward Housman wrote about this county from London,
we smoke pipes and drink pints to honour the scholar's story,
which can be checked out the library, former learning quarters
of an explorer named Charles Darwin, who sits in grey outside,
despite leaving town in adolescence, returning from Galapagos
to The Mount, where my parents met in mental health sickness,
gave life to an original species that theories would have hated,
like Robert Clive, who earned his knighthood by looting India,
cried in parliament, now we want his stage ousted, his house is
next to the cottage where I sleep restless because myself and
a few other Shropshire lads failed to escape, even after studying
centurion debates, athletic form and getting serenaded by greats,
where are the names of those who rose from minimum wage?
Poem #29 from my collection 'A Shropshire Grad'. This poem addresses the issues and themes in my collection most directly - namely, the class division.
On the west cheek of a town's unpainted face,
a mole in the shape of an abandoned tower block
stands and surveys all the veins and dead skin
at its base, there's a cycle path system that never tires,
heels stuck in white, blue and gold Converse shoe
marched through, then flew down those tarmac miles,
every number on the clock face must have held a hand
for the times when I ran full pelt, after nights out,
to save cash, but also to stay alive, as the magic
would ***** out once my key found the jagged
and hollow black hole it was designed to enter,
so I danced with horses, sleepwalking all morning.
Poem #28 from my collection 'A Shropshire Grad'. This is a bittersweet poem about my hometown. I have to remind myself of the tough times I spent there whenever I look back at my youth with grandeur and contemplate going back.
Rejection message drains my spirit level.
The bubble is only centered on the warm-
coloured and well-lit wall of a holiday. Or
during a rare weekend laugh with a friend.
This high-stress therapy is just temporary.
Surrounded by scraps of nostalgia and
paragraphs of a suicide note addressed
to the neglectful souls who left a wounded
badger to survive on his own in the wood.
That underground home has always been
burrowed close to the two apple trees that
grew enough to provide fruit and shelter
despite their roots suffering from rot and
the farmer concentrating on the hen house.
Like a fox raised in captivity, there's a high
mortality rate for those trying to escape the
life drawn on an oracle deck of hospital beds.
Making the most of temporary moments
is the only control we have. But taking a
gamble on a clear country road could turn
this fleece to ash. Until the next rat trap.
Poem #27 from my collection 'A Shropshire Grad'. Addressing the causes of the depression I've experienced in life.
Tried to explain my psyche via Charles Bukowski.
Penned a list that included being up all night,
plus the lack of humanity endured while working.
But concluded the result was mere petulance -
probably because my next mood sank deeper.

This country has a sickness that shackles
the joys of life. Felt its hands strangle me.
Fingerprints are still molded in my clay brain.
Words reach me from below Finnish lakes,
countryside estates and snapped smiling faces.

Can't explain the stories I've been told,
only share what it means to lose all hope.
Could disguise this inside a metaphor
but for what? In order to see the light,
we must shine it on every naked limb.

Hopelessness, then, is searching for that
very word on Google as your love sleeps.
Feeling your heart rejoice and concave
simultaneously when the text describes
everything you've kept inside for x days.

Sometimes in the lonely dead of night.
Sometimes noon stays by your side.
Energy burns that a good run can't fix.
After splitting living rooms, its the wrist.
Tough to admit but these thoughts exist.

Now you know all this, please forgive me
should I despair when hearing it repeated.
Or write this down when nothing is hinted.
If this triggers problems deeper-rooted...

I'll delete it.
Poem #26 from my collection 'A Shropshire Grad'. There's a lot of dark subject matter in this poem but I feel like it needs to be expressed otherwise we won't fix the problem of suicide.
Four kings rode in with strings and skins to bring salvation to me on the streets of New Year's Eve. My friend would lend contents of bookends that induced solutions to a common teenage problem. I became incepted and indebted to the greatest escape artist, plus drowned-out voice who talked me through the agony of lonesome pains. Though association fades, those days still replay in heavy bass, or on the screaming face of a DVD case. But when handshakes are met with drunken compliments, it makes me question what it all meant. Veins no longer contain baselines or nets because the rent doesn't even cover travel expense. There are hotel pillars in a lake up town, tacky Christmas decs have been taken down, while two Jags are parked up outside dad's house. The nice-eyed lad, Welsh running track, smiling dancer and security-defying chap in a flat cap keep me from collapse. As the album dies, benign podcasts thrive. Franchise rise, repeated lines, gym life, energy drink lies and paper bag highs make laugh-cry emojis hard to find. With Wi-Fi or offline.
Poem #25 from my collection 'A Shropshire Grad'. On not fitting in.
Punters only buy into words
if they believe there’s worth.
I’ve been begging for buyers
before premature birthdays.
Let earth spin unaware –
never questioned its axis.
Hid from the anxious parties,
continued chewing table cloths,
then choked on the spike of a train stub.

Not much value in a decade thrice lived –
standing on the coast in yesterday’s underwear,
a teenage busker sits between hip-hop legacy
as new marble faces arrive in constant rotation.
I’m waiting for my estranged brother dance,
who ran out on me despite his free diary entries.
Desperate for reunion. Bitter for the jives lost.

I’ve stepped further than I ever pictured
but I’ll never walk away from the stalking wolves.
Cubs are warned but continue to ignore all advice.
Lions that scrap with the pack tell me to enjoy the plains.
So I forget the bites and burn this poem in my future face.
Poem #24 from my collection 'A Shropshire Grad'. Coming to terms with getting older.
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