Paul Steffan Jones 1st


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Where Did I Put My Country? (Lullabies)

user image 2019-04-22
By: Paul Steffan Jones AKA
Posted in: Poetry

At a dinner party after about

a couple of glasses of Rioja

he spills out what he’s been thinking for some time

suggesting that everyone should return

to the place in which they had been born

his own birthplace approximately

436 metres from that table

according to Google Maps

eyebrows are raised

accompanied by upward glances

sighs and uncomfortable virtual jokes

about racism

he smiles

expecting these reactions  

he finishes his dessert

thanks the host

and leaves for home

301 metres away

a fortress mentality was how

a parliamentary committee

had described the current tactics

of his former department

he can see how this damning indictment

had been arrived at

even the U.N. was getting in on the act

in his day some of his colleagues

had seemed to be vengeful

seeing the impoverishment

of their clientele as being

the main event of their joyless days

he misses the days before the attack dogs

were let loose on the poor once again

the return of the witch trials

if he had proof that the Devil was observed

rising from Downing Street

he may contemplate re-enlisting

he is now lost so signs on

with The Ministry of Loss

which was getting smaller by the day

by the very nature of its existence

despite a steadily growing membership

he buys cheap gin goblets

from a budget foreign supermarket

and is enchanted by the bell sound

they make when brought together

in a modest semi pendular action

he fills them up

throws in some handy botanicals

drinks it down

like imbibing an alcoholic hedge

from a globe representing

a continent-less swirling world

it’s nearly Christmas though

it has been since the last one

at least he can forget for a short while

that many well established companies

feel obliged to make modern slavery statements

each Thursday he attends a workshop

for those debilitated by post traumatic

retail accompaniment stress disorder

the hours in shops waiting

for another to make a decision

keeping his hands in his pockets

ignoring the signs the smells the sounds

unnerved by showroom dummies

sometimes feeling that they could be moving

when just out of sight

some of them appearing to have been posed

in unrealistic human biological positions


still it beats working

although it is in its way a form of occupation

another usage of useless time

he gets asked to dance after he’s read his poems

says he’s got two left feet

then scurries back to his red wine

that he says is the blood of Christ

he talks to the audience about amnesia

which is useful or not

in a secular sermon dug from

the boggy corner of a fallow field

he’s currently enjoying films in which

mature men take on violent young thugs

maybe it’s his age

his vulnerability

maybe he feels that law and order

is breaking down

in the movies and on the streets

he enjoys Get Carter

Taxi Driver

and Bad Blood

a film he’s not seen for decades

he will try to locate it on

one of the streaming services

they didn’t find Suzy Lamplugh’s body

he used to think about her a lot

around the time of her disappearance

fancying her as the patois of his people would have it

because she was attractive

because she was even more elusive

than the beauties of his home town

because he lived to maintain an encyclopaedia

of admirable women in his head

he thinks that they should give up

on Madeleine McCann too

he says that the parents look wrong

and believes lower income families

would not have seen such expenditure allocated

to the search for their missing child

concentrate on the living

the dead have had their chance

no matter how constrained that was

the Government seems to be imploding

Black Friday

Ruby Tuesday

Blue Monday or Manic perhaps

Wednesday Week

Friday I'm in Love

worse than struggling football teams

fantasy political positions

from snow white rich old men in suits

not worth a bet

when he gets the shakes

he closes his eyes until

he is taken far from where he is

back to the early 1960s

the bars of a cot surround him

the first feeling of imprisonment

of being contained

being too safe

he's sleepy in this place too

riggings of snow grace the corners

of the sash window

a draught making him shudder with cold

his first encounter with winter

though he doesn't yet know what it is and does

his mother unseen sings quietly to him

something old

something of that locality

before the rest of the world

and its non stop jukebox

would roar into the family life

he wishes he had a horse and a gun

he is destroying his teeth

he can't stand the small polyps around his eyes

and thinks about taking a scissors to them

maybe he won’t look in a mirror again

he is pleased that his legs and lungs

carry him up slopes

and that he can still madly prick his lawn

with hundreds of visitations of a garden fork

life does not get much better than this

connecting with the earth

joined to the spinning planet

by reliable steel

sweaty and glad to use his body

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