Johnny sat with his head in his hands looking weary;
I sat in silence, searching for something to say vainly
During the post-match interview last Saturday.
Our team lost, and Johnny took this particularly
Hard; I could tell by the way the room seemed to dim
And the storm outside raged louder. Thoughts were eating him
From the inside out; and still I couldn't begin
To comfort him. Then I saw the ***** of a desperate grin
Grow from out the gloom. Finally his arms began to relax,
And after a long, shallow exhale he through his head back
Onto the headrest of his chair and slowly started to laugh.
He took out his last cigarette and then crumpled the pack
Up into a ball, looking me dead in the eye.
'Life', he said at length, 'is this what it's supposed to be?
If it is, then every tutor and teacher of mine has lied to me;
I'm a weekend dad at the age of twenty, a ***** to the DWP,
Living off food-bank handouts 'cause I've got no money.
What I see from the twenty-first floor of this run-down high-rise
Is not a breathtaking view, but a world of grey skies,
Flickering light bulbs and poverty stricken cries
Of children robbed of a future in which all misery dies;
And day by day, all I can do is set back and say
"At some point will good fortune ever stagger this way?
Could I ever take an opportunity and at last make life pay
Me what I'm owed?" I have a feeling I'll forever seek that day.'
I tapped him on the shoulder and said 'you need some time alone'.
I left him; it was almost the last time we met,
And I hate myself for it--not because I got soaking wet
From the storm, but because I'd never see his mother, Janet,
Or his brother, Little Jack, or his brother or his ***** of an ex
Ever again. And I often wonder if things would have been the same
If I had stayed; at least I wouldn't be the person to blame.
I could have talked some sense into him; I could have changed
His outlook--even if only for an extra hour after the game.
But now, I'm stuck not being able to alter this tragic reality;
Like it or not, it's the very same grey skies that I now see--
My entire world has fallen into a pit of abject misery,
And that day will forever exist in infamy
In the life of this town.
I remember heading to our local off licence after I left
And spending some time talking to his mother Janet--
Forgetting everything I had originally went in to get--
Eventually leaving after with nothing, because we talked about Brett,
Johnny's little boy, and how each day he's growing bolder,
And how in an hours' time, when her weekend shift is over,
She's going to take him the park and tell him about Jehovah's
Plans for him when he leaves school--when he's older.
We spoke about Little Jack too, and how he passed his exams;
He got straight A Stars, more than you can count on your hands;
But our conversation was interrupted by her employer, Bad Sam,
Who told her to get outside and start unloading the van
As he took a seat behind the counter.
Now Bad Sam is notorious around here;
He's known for selling anybody all kinds of gear,
***** to kids, guns, counterfeit clothes, even knock-off beer.
He uses the shop for cover, so the police never hear
About him or suspect him; and if you ever said a word,
He'd guarantee that it was the last thing you heard.
But he stays clear of the messy side of things; he's a big nerd
For knowing and hiring local lowlifes to do his ***** work.
That's only half the story; I think he's got most of the police
In his pocket, who are more-than-happy to keep the peace
Thanks to extra pennies to spend on fancy holidays in the heat,
And detached houses and driveways away from the streets
This side of the tracks.
I can't help but rerun that day and think about Johnny,
And what drove him to the relentless stages of insanity;
Obviously he had things bad, but I couldn't believe
What it was that I saw and heard on the TV
Yesterday evening. By chance I stayed up to watch the news
After I heard sirens and saw an almost constant stream of blue
Lights scream along the road I live on. The wind blew
A gail and the rain drove down. I didn't have the faintest clue
That it had something to do with you, Johnny; I never knew that night
I'd lose you; but as I said earlier, the grey skies are my sight
Now. The clock hands and subsequent dates don't seem right
Because you're no longer around; you've gone and taken flight
To a place that I'll have to wait years to see.
The anchor said that night a young man had been arrested.
When I heard that, I thought I had second guessed it;
But I was wrong, because I hadn't listened to the rest
Of the story. They stated that the police believe and suspect
A local man had went and murdered a small family
Of five following from a suspected botched armed-robbery.
They never mentioned any names at the time, but shortly
After--the next day in fact, I got a letter that has haunted me
Ever since. Johnny, how could you be so ******* ******?
If you had asked, I could have lent you a few quid
Just to see you through or something. I'd have been happy to give
You anything I had to stop you doing what you did.
I could have saved you.
The letter reads: 'Michael, I thought you should be the first to know
That your best friend, poor little Johnny, died real ******' slow.
He was a mess; a puddle of tears turned red by the blood from his nose
And eyes, mouth, fingernails--every type of ****** hole
You can think of; that'll teach the the ***** to never point a gun at me again.
I got an apology, pleads for mercy and forgiveness when
My man wheeled his mother and family through to the shed we were in.
You know the place; you saw it on the news--I was watching with you, friend.
But the devil is in the details that you never got to see;
So without further ado, please allow me
To go through what happened last night, the Sunday,
Your team lost and my team won. The first time in decades, I believe.
But I'm not that big a fan of football.
'First we got his ex, Clara or something? She's the *****
He went on about so often, so we killed her pretty quick.
That is after we made him watch her ******* the ****
Of that guy, you know, the one she cheated on him with.
We got his brother next. This was simple: a tap of the back of the head with a bat.
That was him out, so my man took Brett and bounced on his back,
And threw him against a wall. You should have seen the blood splat
And heard him groan, like when you kick a dying cat
From off the porch. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention
That we got his mother next. We stripped her, and without hesitation,
My man rammed a blade up her **** without any lubrication.
You think Brett's cries were bad. There's no comparison
To the howls she made.
'We tore the ***** to pieces, but for hours she hung on,
Mumbling messages to god and trying to forgive her son
Desperately, but she couldn't really speak after all her teeth were gone
And her cheeks were beaten; she could only whisper "John"
Until, after some time, she died with fresh tears on her cheek.
We gagged Johnny with barbed wire, so he was unable to speak
His last words to his mother. By this time he had grown weak
From the trauma, so we cut him up slow--piece-by-piece,
Starting from the toes and fingers, working up the arms and legs,
Until he was nothing more than a broken body and a head;
All of us were surprised to find that he still wasn't dead.
That, I'm sorry to say, is the majority of the letter read,
But look up'.
As I did, I saw a shadow move from the corner
Of my living room. A beastly man, who was clearly not a mourner.
He passed me a parcel, and stared me straight in the cornea.
He said 'read the letter aloud'. Reluctantly I continued with every fibre
Of me quaking. I could hardly read the words, but they read
'Now, Michael, to you I spare death and give you this present.
Thank your lucky stars that I haven't made you dead;
But if you ever tell anybody about this series of events--
Just think about where Johnny and his family now rest.
Yours sincerely, Sam'. I looked up, but the man had disappeared.
But written on the wall was, 'Sam is still around to be feard'.
I turned my my attention to the box. I felt really weird;
Calmness had washed over me, I was no longer scared,
Until I opened the box, and I saw Johnny's grey eyes.
I wrote this piece in an attempt to get people thinking about their choices in life. You never know what could happen.
I also hoped to inspire people to think outside the box. What I mean is, who is or are the persons to blame in this piece? Would it be Johnny, Sam, Michael, Clara, the police, society, or the government?
Please also accept my apologies if there are typographical errors. This took me over an hour to type on my ******* phone, and the poem itself took two days to complete. My pen even ran out of ink half way through.
Let me know what you think. Be honest. Did I waste my time?
Also, the 'brutal' description of what happened to Johnny and his family was inspired by things I have read about atrocities committed in war, specifically concentration camps.