My Course Is Ruin (Full Steam Ahead, Captain!) by Paul Tristram

There were 30 of us in the building
but they would only let 5 of us
into the actual Courtroom.
We were sat in the Public Gallery,
half-drunk & scratching anarchy symbols
into the varnished wood
of the waist-high barrier before us.
Waiting for 3 of the boys
to come up from the cells below.
They were about to get Remanded
to Swansea Prison
for a brutal & sustained attack
upon 5 rival gang members
outside ‘The Tenby’ pub
with a pickaxe handle, Stanley knife
& elec-fucking-tricity!
This was before the new British Knife Laws
but still, it was time to give them
an ‘Oi!-Oi!’ & wave them off for awhile.
There was a homeless guy up first,
in his late 50’s
called John ‘Jack-No-Hat’ Thompkinson.
He had been arrested for assaulting
his ex-girlfriend & new partner
with his very own blood & excrement,
then killing & eating her dog.
The Judge looked visibly disgusted
& almost growled
as he sentenced him to 6 months in Custody.
The homeless guy just stood there
like a statue for a few seconds,
squeaked a bicycle-horn fart out
& pissed himself  like a racehorse
(I mean, you could hear it gushing
like a little waterfall all around the Courtroom!)
Then pulled a 20 packet of Benson & Hedges
out of his manky pocket,
held it up to his left ear
(Which happened to have a bite out of it,
there’s a lot of this in Neath & Swansea,
people are animals when emotional!)
and said, in a clear, calm voice,
“Beam Me Up, Scotty!”
The Judge went beetroot & ape-shit
all at the very same time.
Moved his 6 months up to 9 months
for Contempt of Court
& inquired if The Defendant
had anything else to add to the proceedings
before being carted down the steps?
“Aye, my course is ruin,
always have been & always will be…
Full Steam Ahead, Captain!
You’ve achieved absolutely fuck-all
except kept me off the cold streets
& away from crippling hunger
through this bitter Welsh Winter.
Now, knock that poxy sentence up to Max
& stop haggling like a cunt about the place…
I’ve got a warm Black Maria taxicab
waiting for me just outside the back entrance!”

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) ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope at You can also read his poems and stories here!

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