One of the pleasures of publishing poems on my blog is being able sometimes to return the favour to people who have encouraged my own work in the past. This is not to say that Ben Banyard’s poems aren’t inherently worth publishing in their own right, but that it’s good to be able to give a platform to Ben who once gave a home to a number of my poems at his own website, Clear Poetry. Ben lives in Portishead on the Severn Estuary, just outside Bristol. He’s published two books with Indigo Dreams to date: a pamphlet, Communing, in 2016 and then a full length collection, We Are All Lucky, in 2018. His second full length book, Hi-Viz, will be published by Yorkshire-based YAFFLE as soon as the current unpleasantness sorts itself out. Both of these poems come from Hi-Viz.
It hangs there, still as ever,
a ragged set of hairy bagpipes.
Pairs of lethal-looking claws
curve harmlessly around the branch.
Around me, other visitors shuffle on,
But now it moves, rickety
as a marionette, inching along
through the gloom towards the glass,
and I swear that it’s staring at me
as it edges closer, eyes shining and
what looks like a smile
plays across its face.
I’m rooted to the spot and feel
electricity on the back of my neck
as we stare at one another:
slow kindred spirits, misunderstood,
clutching deliberately at time.
Red Carpet Street
Hanging around outside the chippy
De Niro, Pacino and Pesci shrug;
wiseguys with saveloys and batter bits.
Here come Laurel and Hardy
carrying thin blue bags from the offy;
lager, cider, pork scratchings.
A fight breaks out near the bookies
Stallone swings at fresh air,
Van Damme clocks the CCTV, backs off.
Sellers and Keaton clown at the bus stop,
inspired by Dutch courage and whizz,
for the benefit of Monroe and Pfeiffer.
Hoffman and Lassie bed down
in the doorway of the pound shop,
a duvet and each other for warmth.
At first light they change back
into scaffolders, brickies, nurses,
half an office of mortgage brokers,
an old man and his dog with a scrap of hope.