Poems and Poetry

Gareth Culshaw

The Brother | A Poem by Gareth Culshaw

He is one of the lads,
all ciggies and beer.
Debit cards in a line on a
windowsill in a pub lavatory.
He goes on holidays
and days out with the lads.
One of the names you have
on your mobile. If you see
him, he comes over to chat.
There’s a quietness though,
like his life is paused.
People like him, listen
to his words. He keeps
his hands in his pockets
so his body doesn’t fall apart.

But I know a family member.
They say he never turns up
when needed. How his
brother has been in hospital
for hours. While his sisters
tend to him, bring him home.
Sometimes they see him
at Christmas. He drinks
beer rather than their words.
I know she is upset with him.
Using the term ‘Our’ before
his name. As if it is best
to mention him in third person.
Ignoring the other two sides
of who he is.

The Hoover Guy | A Poem by Gareth Culshaw

He filled his van up with Hoovers,
brushes, cleaning fluid, mops
and other sorts of things. Whisky
was painted on the back of his throat,
and his phlegm was curried
with it when he spat. He slammed
the door and walked around, money
rattled with keys. His polished hair,
black as his heart, glowed,
as if something slithered through it.
I never liked seeing him or having
to say ‘Hello’. He was a difficult man,
opinions, wind-like, and a stare that made
you think you shouldn’t even be alive,
never mind looking at him.

Bill | A Poem by Gareth Culshaw

I couldn’t believe he was still alive.
It is a decade since I saw him.
He looked ill even then.
His hair still trying its best to cover
his head. The slumped shoulder that
carried a wooden ladder.
Rolled cigarette like a budgie
perch in his lips. His eyes brown,
needed cleaning too. He use to
have a swinging bucket from his hand.
It held water that never seemed
to drain away. The rag was a fist
in his pocket, ready to unleash
greyness to the glass. He would sip
pints from every pane he cleaned.
When I saw him the other day
it took me back to when he squeaked
on my bedroom window, while father’s
voice filtered up to him like chimney smoke.
In reply he only ever grumbled.

The Mountain Biker in the Rain | A Poem by Gareth Culshaw

I watched him spin
the rain back to the clouds.
The front of his cap
hid his life face.

A mobile phone took
hold of his hand.
He carried his hat
up and down the road.

The rain lashed down
but he didn’t care.
All he thought about
was the doobie

that waited to be swapped
with the moolah
that was folded in his pocket.

I watched from a bus stop
listening to the rain break
itself up, while he waited

to fix it back up.

Visit Gareth at http://www.gculshaw.co.uk.

Four Feet Walking Up | A Poem by Gareth Culshaw

We went a couple of times.
Taking our weight up loose scree.
Our lives had spread and circled
so we brought our tongues together

for another crack. The heaviness
was in your back. I watched you bend
like a golf flag pole in low wind.
You carried so much I never thought

we would reach the top. Both of us
are two of the same breed.
But the walk down is where we differ.
I pick up speed and reach new heights,
you seem to slow, and bring the mountain

with you, as if you’re scared to feel weightless.

Bundled into a Wheelchair | A Poem by Gareth Culshaw

I saw her last week
bundled into a wheelchair
pushed around by her
daughter’s tongue.

She is past tense now
with apron and overcooked
potatoes left in the ceiling.
Husband used to go searching

for worms while the soil lay in wait.
Her hedge was the biggest
in the avenue. Keeping the
noses out, her voice in.

Those glasses that sat
on the bridge, watching
the world go by like some
toll gate man. She herself

with the busiest pupils around.
Now she sits on the spindles
being spun into the next life.

Hoodie | A Poem by Gareth Culshaw

He hid under a hood
his face
caged in plastic.

Feet unwary, as if they
belonged to someone


His eyes were metal detectors
looking for pennies

his hands ached to pick up
fag ends.
People gingerly watched

like he was walking a tight

Fingernails held last week.
Tongue soaked in yeast.
Pockets empty of tomorrow.

He just walked with his face
in a plastic cage, keeping
the world away, in case

they saw who he was