glad you popped by pts 1 and 2

A true account of a spooky encounter. edited versions of these will go into my next book
they are kinda contiguous.

glad you popped by (November 2018)
 
the shade of Joseph,
a taciturn man,
stood ramrod straight,
tall beside the architrave,
against the kitchen wall.
 
he never spoke unless spoken to
so coughed discreetly
to gain my attention.
 
the final whistle blew on the radio,
the Etihad team won again
and Joseph (never Joe or Joey)
had been a fan of front runners, Liverpool.
 
‘I’m glad you’ve popped by, Joseph.
by the way, while you’re here,
your lot won’t win the Prem. this year,
Man. City are unbeatable.’
 
(I sensed a playful smile)
 
‘that’s true – but it does not matter.
we’ll win the European Cup final
beating Tottenham two-nil.’
‘Spurs in the final? you having a laugh?’
‘you will find out in good time.’
 
‘are you all right there… wherever you are?’
‘oh yes, it’s good here…very good.’
‘you seem much happier than I remember.’
‘oh yes, it’s good here… very good.’
 
‘hey, Joseph, while you’re here,
why the paupers’ funeral?
the pub would have clubbed together –
had a whip round and raffle –
sent you off in style.’
 
‘I did not want fuss or bother… not to be a …’
 
then, quietly as he arrived,
Joseph slipped away.
 
how did he get my address?
heavenly satnav, I guess.
 
I’ll ask him next time he swings by.
          ** ** **
 
cup final night at the Botanic
 
the pub was jostle-packed and raucous –
couched at rows of tables
sat an all-nation expectancy
wearing bright red replicas
wrestled over beer stomachs;
Guinness dark Africans,
lager pale Yorkshire men,
assorted East Europeans, 
 
one Tottenham fan,
 
and Kevin in a rugby shirt.
 
on a reserved table,
centre-front of the screen –
best view in the house –
a single bottle of Hero Lager
beside a framed photo of Joseph –
they had captured him smiling –
in itself a rarity –
an icon everyone nodded at,
picked up, blessed, or kissed,
expressing their affection
for a well-loved top bloke
deceased
but not forgotten.
 
in my pocket a crumpled slip;
 
‘European Cup final
100 quid Liverpool 2-0 at 8/1’
 
at the final whistle
I saluted the icon
and whipped round to BetFred
while it was still open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© coolhermit 2019
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critique and comments welcome.

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Sweetwater
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I like the sound of Joseph even if he is a football supporter 😉 sue.

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