Bob Beagrie (PhD) (British Working Class Poets)

 Bob Beagrie (PhD)

lives in Middlesbrough. He has published numerous collections of poetry and several pamphlets, most recently: When We Wake We Think We’re Whalers from Eden (Stairwell Books 2021) And Then We Saw The Daughter of the Minotaur (The Black Light Engine Press 2020), Civil Insolencies (Smokestack 2019). A new collection 'The Last Almanac' is due out in November 2022 from Yaffle Press.  


Hallucinations in Extreme Heat

My neighbours are petitioning the moon for rain
because the Sahara has decided to visit our street
it’s been squatting our homes now for over a week,
they’re holding up wine glasses to catch the soft glow
that’s falling like the year’s first, fine dusting of snow,
or flakes of ash from the ghost of the incinerator,
then tipping their glasses to pour over their hair,
upturned faces, bare shoulders, down their throats
bubbling with giggles like a bottle of Prosecco,
sighing as if standing at a waterfall’s plunge pool
sun-stroked skins soothed by its airborne cool.

They’re playing a track list they know the moon loves:
Van the Man, Cat Stevens, Beck, Ariana Grande,
their table's laid with milk, marshmallows, cheese, loaves,
they’ve passed a duck egg around in a kissing ring,
they’ve raised their voices in a lunar-shower prayer,
they’ve all started dancing as if no one’s watching –
they are twerk. They are twist. They are shake and sway.
They're under water jitterbug. Their mouths are rockpools
their fingers flicking like feeding sea anemones,
they’re wailing out whale song, yowling like wolves,
pouring out their parched hearts with pure yearnings.

They pile them into a pyre, set the thing on fire, right there
in the middle of our pot-holed road on the tarmac
that’s bubbled all day like a tar pit, and still no cloudburst
still no breath of fresh air, so as arguments flare they leap
like sparks into each other's eyes, stinging them raw
they’re blinded by tears, sipping from the fountain
of each other's faces, their bodies deflate like dwindling
juice bags, paling to the translucency of shed snake skins,
ready to be swept and dropped in the recycling bin.
Instead, I gather them up and fold them into paper boats,
paper aeroplanes and set them afloat upon the night's
hot thermals, sailing up and away toward the moon.


Something Like But Not Quite Purpose


The early evening darkness makes the compressed

voices of the rattlers at the alley gate reverberate

down the street as they wait for the dealer to appear

from behind the steel bins with a pocketful of brief

forgetfulness, and while I wait for you to get home

from the job that’s coming to an end as you know it

up on Eston Hills kids are lighting fires like beacons

to warn of the Spanish Armada, and the last blast

furnace at Teesmouth is being demolished, mam's

skinny feet are throbbing with arthritis - she learned

to swim among slag heaps near the Gare but hates

the creeping signs of old age and Dad's increasing

deafness is one of his secret comforts; everyone is

getting back into the grind, going dry, hitting their

own treadmill, looking forward, glancing back,

the solid spaces around each of us have been painted

by Vermeer, the wind is keening its bitter woes

in the chimney and while looking for the wet wipes

under the sofa I have found a new word but have no

idea what it means, soft and fresh as a snowbell,

fragile as a newly hatched chick, potent as an ink cap

shroom, it's been growing there, I think, since new

year's day and it stains my cupped hand like a freshly

plucked heart as I hold it up to the lamplight, leaking

a drop of sticky sap with each shored instinctual beat.

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