Tavern Crawling Common’s Brawling by Paul Tristram

At Giants Grave in the Parish of Briton Ferry,
right next to the rubbish tip,
they built a cluster of 4 story council flats
and named them ‘The Sunny Saltings’. (Ha!)
The rats would come over
(Being neighbours and all)
and infiltrate the tenements.
Dirty, snotty kids of 4 & 5 years old
would fight them with sticks & stones.
It was run down completely,
graffiti ridden, broken piss stained lifts
and smashed windows as far as the eye could see.
It was sinking into the marshy ground
they built it upon (Twats!) an inch or two a year.
I was 11 years old when first introduced to it
and it took my breath away,
it was an apocalyptic vision
before my young, rebellious eyes.
They filled it with Neath’s Scum & Losers…
the Drunks, Tramps, Violent, the Insane,
the Poor, Unemployable & the downright Villainous.
A Fagin character on every level…
that’s where you got your drugs, stolen goods & sluts.
My Uncle Pedro lived up the top end, twice,
with Sarah the Wino, in between prison sentences.
Right in the middle were some concrete animals
for the kids to dangerously climb upon,
broken teeth & stitches brightening up many a face.
Next to that was a Green stretching to the road
called ‘The Common’.
Every Friday & Saturday night, guaranteed,
the men would arrive back
from The Duke, Blue Bell, Full Moon & The Albert
over in Neath Town Centre
and batter it out on that stretch of grass.
Gone midnight & the kids still up
eating jam or red or brown sauce sandwiches.
Cheering, swearing & laughing
with their amphetamine addled mothers
from the unsafe balconies all around.
A Welsh 1980’s Gladiator Arena,
the men drunk, staggering & swaying
would rip their own shirts off
and trade walloping, thunderous punches
under moon & broken streetlamps.
The women would bet carefully
their precious 50 pence pieces
normally reserved for the electric meter or back of TV.
Mostly on Joe the Boxer or Dai the Deranged Bastard
but you could never be certain
for there’s always someone slightly more sober…
with a knife, iron bar or empty bottle just in reach.

paul smoking - Copy
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 books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096 ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036 And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204 You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

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