Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet

two streets (2008)

under the window there’s a car
with the noise trying to get out.
it has to be a man.
women don’t need to be loud to be noticed
and the music wouldn’t want to get away.
we’re watching corrie,
old enough not to need the theme tune
to rattle the panes.

david’s pushed his mam down the stairs
and he’s making his girlfriend lie.
he plays his mother like a blonde-stringed ukelele.

the car’s gone now
i turn back to the other street
but hear music escaping, sounds of pursuit
as the beat wah-wahs past like a
speed garage squad car
– but without the car-
during the adverts.

there’s an ‘oi!’ carried down the road by slapping trainers.
he stops to pick up random notes that
squeak and fade.

hang on! familiar brass. part two.
diedre’s been drenched by a passing vanman
vernon’s mates are jamming in the yard
with binlids.

overlaying that’s a tiny bass
beating like a ferret’s heart
‘where are ya? just you get back here!’

it’s behind our tv.
footsteps dissolve into the sound
of rita telling sally
that everything will be all right
‘you can always stay with me, chook
for as long as you need to.’

the rhythm slows to the beat of the credits,
nestles into the warm curves of a trumpet


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