Candle Wax and Woodsmoke

An autobiographical tale.

A period drama flickered in the local ‘Picturama’
Set in a time of castles
Wooden stairways creaking
And reek of candle wax
And in the street shouts of “Gardy Loo!”
Scabbards, swords, bucklers
And clatter of boot on cathedral flags
Crucifix, cloister and villainy
A solemn colloquy
Of velvet drapery gold chain finery
To weigh rumours of adultery
The innocent condemned
With ironic solemnity
The leather hooded headsman
The drum roll
The block
The axe
A gaping neck
A rolling head
A sigh from the mob
A sigh I shared
As the credits rolled
Overcome by pathos
And a swelling doleful fugue
My eyes showered tears
I weighed my existence
And found mself wanting.
The audience thinned to scattered few
Dabbing their eyes
Standing with shoulders back
At stiff attention for the anthem
Before the mayhem dash to the door
To catch lounge bar last orders
Or the late night bus
But the martyr’s death haunted me
I wished to be him
And him to be me
‘With no ideals worth dying for
What is there worth living for?’
While my late night Wimpy coffee cooled
I tried to explain my pain to Mandy
Whose Nivea creamed cheek had adhered to mine
From “Pearl and Dean” through to God Save the Queen
She looked around the coffee bar
Lit a Virginia Slim
And as I poured out my soul
Blew a long thin jet of smoke
And said, “God you’re a joke – why can’t you be more like him?”
He was playing pinball
With a matchstick fixed between his lips
He wore tight blue jeans with three inch turn ups
Blue suede brothel creepers
And greased hair slicked to a duck’s arse
I wanted to say that if I could be anybody in world history
His would be the last kind I’d choose to be – but
Mandy was up and away and standing beside him
Smiling at him and him at her
His hands covered her hands as he gave her the flippers
And stood behind to guide her – nudging against her
Thrusting the ball onto a bonus bumper
The machine was all lit up – belling free plays
Then he kissed her neck and Mandy told him to stop
But her ‘do it again, I like it’ laughing shining eyes belied her
She flicked her hair waggling her rear
Tight to him like a hen duck in need of fucking
“Our bus leaves in five minutes, Mandy… If we miss it, we’ll have to walk.”
Mandy tilted the pinball with an angry shove, snapping,
“Look what you made me do – that was all your fault”
She kissed the new bloke full on the lips
Tossed her head at me,
“You’d better start walking then – do your best not to jump under a bus”
She waved ‘Goodbye’
Not an ‘I’ll see you Thursday‘ friendly goodbye
But an ‘I’ll be washing my hair, don’t ring me – goodbye!’ goodbye
The next time I bumped into her
She had a bun in the oven – ready to deliver
A hint of bruising about her eye
“How’s it going with that Jerry?”
“He’s alright, he’s good to me mostly…
Except when he’s had a few…
At least he ain’t miserable and boring like you.”

© coolhermit 2023
Views: 1109
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From the silver screen to reality. I remember sitting in a bar three years ago when a pretty woman of about 20 years and dressed in a gossomer dress wobbled over to tell me how ‘fuckiin’ ugly’ I was and wobbled off again to teeter and titter with her chums. Don’t know why this well-crafted observational piece with the DV sting in the tail made me think of that,…

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