Poems by David Cooke (UK)
Published in issue 40 of The Ofi Press
Imagine a world where pester power
rarely delivers the goods and a dawdling
hike to school’s the norm. You have fresh air,
your friends, and a small coin burning
a hole in your pocket. Spend it now
or do your best to make it last the week.
In class Rosanna Ferrario likes to sit
beside you. All the others make you blush.
They seem to know you like her too.
Give her a Love Heart with your message
so, at least, she’ll learn it’s true,
even though their taste is sour.
Your best friend Jan eats salami.
How can anyone like that stuff?
Does he like bacon boiled with cabbage?
The day you both forget the milk,
singing Beatles’ songs, Mr Murphy canes you
to help you mend your ways.
He has a way with a pint that hints
at who he is. It starts as the ale is drawn,
his eyes moving from the barmaid’s chest
to her grip on the polished wood
of the pump. Along the tilted side
of the glass, the liquid rises
as if spelling danger, or re-establishing
an equilibrium, while the over-lively froth
gushes forth like loose talk
before it drains into the slops;
and when the measure’s attained,
with a small headspace left,
she sets it up on the counter
for him to assay. He pauses briefly,
holds it up, then gives it a quarter turn,
staring into it like a talisman,
or the dark mirror that shows him
what he needs to see.
David Cooke has been widely published in the UK, Ireland and beyond. His most recent collection, Work Horses, was published in 2012 by Ward Wood Publishing. His next collection, A Murmuration, will be published by Two Rivers Press in 2015.
Image: "Beer Goggles" by Marcus Povey.