Bootle Rising

A rushing, running air from off the sea
has blown away the ugly wintry fume.
The new dawn blushing, shakes the shadows free
and pours like liquid amber through the room.
Outside the milkmen’s lad swans round the van
to posse broken bottles with a broom;
an half impostor of the older man.

Her door is shaking, no storm, just a gale
of parent thrusting past in dressing gown.
She hears the slither of the morning mail,
thump on the mat, and throws the duvet down,
kicks in despair and picks at painted toes,
her daisy face is puckered with a frown
- decisions ?- oil of Ulay or aloes?

Dismissing old burnt toast but drinking tea,
hair in a towel like Hollywood’s elite,
she rocks the chair and leans back expertly
to tune to “city” - smartly twists her seat;
a Bootle angel, head in flannel folds
the holy innocent and sugar sweet.
“Hey Kelly turn it back,” her mother scolds!

Mum lives from Littlewoods - their only wage
comes with the late night shift of tele-sales -
(that world of wonder on a coloured page)
When tops and slacks swish gladly on the rails
in autumn clearances, she yearns and thinks
of Cyprus sundown - no more Mersey gales
but mezas by the pool and late night drinks.

And barren are the days since Dad walked out
- just up the road as well. And Kelly flees
collision course with mum: she slams about
upstairs and spins her garage rap CDs;
she ups the sound to liberate the pain,
that decent bloke mum met, that tried to please,
moved out last month - just family again!

By Dick Hayes