No Visible Scars

apologies for bad language.

Lonely Guy’s eyes blazed

as he skimmed pebbles at the

ebonised tide-eroded

carcass of the pleasure pier

where he used to stroll each evening

with Mum, Dad, and Scooter

their ancient obese pet retriever.


The crowd jollied along to Blaze Away

as ‘The Happy Wanderers’ closed their

nightly ‘Seaside Special’ pierrot show,

without the slightest clue       

that a casually flicked dog end

was devouring the whole place

turning it into skeletal charcoal.  


Few made it out of the theatre.

Scooter was too fat to swim to shore.


Lonely Guy scanned the waves all winter,

“Scooter. Here boy! Where are you? Scooter!!”


I offered Lonely a cigarette.

He shrugged and helped himself to two.

We sat sheltering and smoked.

He poked my arm and confided,


“I’ve got scars where no one can see them.”


The paint-flaked decaying tram stop hinted at vintage days –

Victorian values – from before the rot of rust set in.


Lonely Guy picked at a kiss curl of paint,

crumbling it between his finger tips.


“Lazy bastard council workmen,

skimping on the undercoat –

and check out the piss poor primer.


Rust never sleeps.

I backed a horse with that name,

Rust Never Sleeps.

It was a winner, as I remember…”


He jabbed his fisted cig at the lights

of the dormant town supine below,


“…  Look, look at the playground,

the paddling pool’s choked

with plastic bags and dog shit.

Glass splinters in the grass

slash children’s feet to bits.

The sand pit’s a nest of dirty needles.

The swing seats are broken – the chains are rusted, 

and the Crazy Putting windmill’s bust.”


My fingers traced the grooving of “Shaz 4 Gazz”

– with a tenderly scratched love heart –

engraved on a wooden bench strut.


From a hotel verandah

a string quartet played Brahms,

“I love classical it soothes me …”


A passing Vauxhall Victor blasted

La Cucaracha.


Lonely Guy shook my hand, “Cheers for the fag,”

stood to go and casually flicked the dog end away.


“So, where are you living these days?”


He eyed me warily,


“What’s it to you? I get it. You’re Old Bill. Ain’t you?”


I shook my head – he half believed me,   


“I’m squatting a derry down Desolation Row.”


“The abandoned beach huts?”


“That’s them.  Just me and rats for company.”


“It’s been nice chatting. Hope to see you again.”


“See me?

You haven’t seen me!

You don’t know me.

You’ve never seen me!

Nobody sees me.

I’m invisible to the naked eye!


One lousy fag, a bit of chat

and you think you’re so much

better than me.  


I’ve got scars that nobody sees.


You know what? Fuck you, 

Christopher fucking Columbo. 


Fuck your fags.

Fuck this town.

Fuck the lot of you.”


Lonely Guy looked over the stark water

and waved towards the blackened skeleton

of the desolate pier.


“The old man’s calling me over,

I’ve got to take him a beer.”

© coolhermit 2023
Views: 1354
critique and comments welcome.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Christopher Columbo – perfect!

Flag Content