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8 Sonnets for Everyday Love

(to be read in 8 different accents)


1. McDonalds in Glasgow


“They’re giving out free glasses with the meals!”

she says, and slams the silver Focus in-

to third. It would go well with grandma’s real

cut glass – the stuff they’d kept (the rest was binned,


because it cluttered up the lounge). The wheels

slip-straddle parking bays, they pile out: grins

smeared thick like tar. The glassy porch-way fills

with salty, duvet warmth, and so begins


the plastic magic act: you firstly breathe

the briney, ketchup air. Select your fizz,

and chips and sin and straw - before you leave

to slide on seats – receive your prize: your glass!


Like oily babies, you sludge into beef

And sauce like sex; saliva slops: relief.


Exhausted, you slip down: like near-dead soldiers: eyes aglaze.



2. Argos in Liverpool


“This book’s about as heavy as a pram!”

Said our mam, wrenching us apart like snail

Shells, “go and stand by that cardboard Batman

And don’t touch those chains.” Laura starts to wail.


Mam’s here to get “a nice statue” for her

Cousin’s wedding and some “princess” bedding

For their twins. I run to boys’ TOYS and hurl

Myself on football pitch beanbag – spreading


Daddy longlegs arms. I love this cool store:

where skinny women fill in forms with

straightened hair and lawn-mowed nails. Mam’s not sure

which queue to use, I giggle – chuffed at life.


The flat-screen giant beams as MP3s

Bounce out, “the future’s here!” And then we leave.


3. X-Factor in Bradford


The backstage bit’s my fave cuz I can see

The crying girls in badly fitting tops;

I mainly watch to see if Dermot stops

Himself from laughing just in time. Chinese


On lap-tray; bowl of wine: I’m queenly free

To judge between my cracker crunch and chow

Mein slop-lip gorge. That fat lass stops and bows

But Gary’s stubble-still! And tension streaks


The Stage. They speak like sages. Advert breaks

The spell. I scrape the plates and make some tea

And see my face reflected in the three-

Paned window’s blackness. Stop and breathe. The break


Retreats. Ice cream and Kit-Kat trays prepared,

I hustle back; the screen shows one more scared old dear.



4. M.O.T. in Margate


“Your clutch has gone and I can’t get the parts

‘til Thursday next,” he said and wiped his nose.

“But I can’t be without my bloody car

‘til then,” I said, enraged, “And I suppose


It’s gonna cost a bomb!” He flicked a page

Or five and looked all serious at me

Then said, “I’ll tell you what, because we’re mates,

I’ll let you drive my Cavalier for free


Until I’m done.” I must have looked surprised.

I told The Wife that night as shepherd’s pie

sat steaming on the sideboard. And her eyes

lit up; she wrote a ‘Thank you’ note then cried


(and out of sight, so did I). That birthday

Was the best she’d had before she passed away.



5. Eastenders in Leicester


My mum says my life’s like Eastenders ‘cause

I’m always fighting with my boyfriend, Dave.

I know I’ll be with ‘im until the grave

but I’m allowed, because the stuff he does


is so insane! He stuck a big exhaust

on Nozzer’s Escort – cost ‘im loads! – then drove

it through a wall! But on that night, his stove

clicked on and burnt his brother’s pub which forced


him into gettin’ out a loan from Mike

who owns a proper dodgy firm abroad

and killed ‘is wife in some insurance fraud

and framed ‘is mate who’s doin’ time inside!


But I don’t mind, as long as I’ve got Dave

who should’ve been ‘ome hours ago. I’m sure ‘e’s fine.



6. Pub in Bristol


Those CAMRA guys keep snoopin’ round to check

Why we don’t sell no beer in ‘ere; I said,

‘We’re Cider fru and fru and I been fed

It since a child and done no wrong except


I don’t like beer’. He sneered like I was wrong

And ticked ‘is sheet and wandered off, when loads

Of students wandered in all loud like crows

And talked all toffee nosed like they belonged


In ‘ere, and I supposed I gotta serve

‘em now. And one, whose collar’s all turned up,

Says, ‘can ‘e get a pint?’! I sez, ‘Wha’s up

Wiv you! You know we don’t do beer! What Nerve!’

It seems he did want cider but ‘e left

And my pub closed: it ‘ad no custom left.



7. Fish and Chips in Chelsea


“I don’t want haddock, cod or plaice, I must

Have Mahi Mahi lightly fried in wine

From daddy’s place in Burgundy. I trust

You only use organic oil to fry


The chips? My hips won’t take the coarser stuff –

It’s in the genes! – it means I have to watch

My figure like a vulture: it’s enough

To drive me… ‘xcuse me: Phone!... HELLO? Oh what


Do you want? Yah… Uh-huh… Uh-huh… how dull!

Must dash!... Do you do ‘mushy peas’? I’ve heard

They’re quite the thing in Manchester or Hull!

And wrap it up in magazine, with words


Inside, so I can read the pictures while

I wander to Embargo 59”.



8. Malaga in Coventry


“We love the poolside lunches served by George,

The handsome waiter, don’t we dear?” “Oh, yes.”

“And we’ve been coming here for years, it’s sort

Of homely. Aint that right dear?” “Oh… um… yeah.”


“And Barry got a tattoo after our

First year; go on dear, show it to ‘em quick –

You’ll love it. See!: ‘the local flag and our

Initials, 1983’. We stick


A bit aside each month and save like mad;

And he works night shifts, don’t you dear?” “I do.”

“And everyone speaks English, so we’ve had

No problems talking, have we dear?” “Oh, no.”


“Our back-‘ome neighbour says it’s not ‘er dream!

But she’s just jealous, aint that right?” “Oh… Si”.

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