Battle of the Bands

‘What does music mean?’ I asked
The day you demanded to know
Which bands I liked,
What songs I knew by heart
What right I had to hold you?
The darker tones you rationed me
Those reserved for seduction
Sent delicious spinal shivers
As you so righteously accused
Me of musical treachery.
Standing in the rain by the bus stop
People looking us up and down
We stood like strangers, past-less
Wild hair blowing across your glasses
Peering into my face to try to
See how I might fit into your
Careful constructed fantasy
Defiant in your metal tee and boots
I smiled at your adherence to these
Uptight social conventions.
Unblinking, I considered my response
As if there were a wrong answer
Forming on my tongue.
I knew your little lover’s heart
Was restless, wanting to trade bedfellows
You were so obvious, waiting
For my careless chosen gift
Lovingly bestowed by
Another doting devotee of
Bad boys in black jeans;
A perfect excuse for you
To end whatever strange
Fantasy we were living.
I could see the angry words
Taking final form in your
Deep brown eyes, watch you
Later, sat in the comfort
Of your local haunt, The Bush
Surrounded by bandmates
And potential conquests
Younger and dumber than I.
‘She just didn’t get me, man’
You would say, accompanied by
An obligatory eye-roll,
Well-rehearsed, and all
Would sympathise
Pouring cheap words and
Libations. ‘Drink of us’
While First Year Goths
Bat heavy lashes and
Casually bounce off the beat,
Showing their interest.
Alas, the musician’s daughter saw
All this and still felt minded to foil
Your planned escape with a trick.
Ignoring her eidetic recall
You didn’t know how to respond
To cry or to laugh
As I sang all your favourite tunes
Word-perfect, as always.

Manchester Noughties

By popular demand, here is the next instalment. This follows on from Out-growing.

A bolt from the blues
And there he stood
My long-haired, brown eyed boy

More trouble than he was worth
But oh, he meant the dawning
Of a brave new world to me

Black-clad from his boots
To his faded tee
Proclaiming the road to Hell

Hours spent revelling
Skin on skin
Tracing patterns on his chest

In post-coital bliss
As our sweaty limbs cooled
The disc spun its Dream Theater

And dirty, sticky
Sheets stuck
To our grinning faces

I felt so alive in those moments
Clambering over his dozing form
Twitching the curtain aside

Peering out at my world
Spying on the backyard
The comfort of a familiar scene

His middle-aged neighbour
Hanging out day-old washing to air
In a crowded corner

Grey skies over damp rows of workers’ cottages
Pegs and pots of geraniums
A battered bathroom chair

He took me places
We went to concerts
Wandered the aisles of the supermarket

Hands in each other’s pockets
I wore his jeans and shirts
Over my naked skin

Danced in the rain in bare feet
And walked through Moss Side
Nightly, after dark

Just to wake up by his side
So lost in my own happiness
No street life ever bothered me