John Siddique (Wigan, UK): Two Poems


Behind the theme bar facades is a town.
Behind the attitudes there’s Saturday night.
Behind Saturday night is the shadow of the week.
We make ourselves all week.
Blow it all down on King Street, where the fighting
has turned to ‘destroy at all costs,’ where the flirting
has a slap down waiting in it. The Saturday night grab,
drunk and fucking our northern souls away,
if we’re lucky. Or shouting the tribal ‘Oi,’
with hot sauce on our kebabs if we’re not.


Under arches five drinkers on the tarmac path,
on the River Bann with its summer balsam,
its cool dark swim calling smoothly, before
showing the teeth of its undercurrent.

In the town, years and bombs have stolen
names and shops, changed the directions of paths.
Who will remember life before Dunnes Stores?
The lines of O’Neills, Livingstones and Brownes?

As a pope kisses the ground, feet are insulated
from the tarmac. One day we should announce
that Sunday is ‘Barefoot Day’. With clean feet
we’ll walk the shoppers processional route,
follow the staggered steps of legendary drinkers,
who would just sleep on the kerb if they couldn’t
get home. The soles of our feet pulling in
occasional electrons, leaving some of our own.

We’ll gather on traffic islands to recite
the names of the dead. A candle lit vigil for
the beaten, the bombed, the broken, the forgotten,
the died in bed, the lost, and the beloved.

© John Siddique 2005