Three phone poems by Richard Hopgood

Not Like My Dad

When I was still at primary school
I swore I’d never get angry like my Dad
When I grew to be a man
And dreamed of chairing
Family disputes
With the calming irrefutable
of the bureaucrat
I would one day become.

When I was a teenager
I swore I’d never run to fat
Like my fourteen stone Dad
But would stay
Lissom and slim,
Turning lanky
In my middle years.

When I was middle-aged
I swore I’d never
Wear stained jerseys
And sit mesmerised
In front of the TV
Watching the snooker,
Chuckling at John Virgo’s
Jokes and chucking
Handfuls of nuts
Into my insatiable gob.

So now, with the odd trace
Of food on my otherwise
Immaculate sweater,
Seething indignantly
At the idiots around me
Pacified only
By the bags of nuts
Which nestle
In my shopping bag;
Shifting my seventeen stone
On the heavy cafe chair
And scanning tonight’s
TV schedules on my phone,

I thank the Lord
I’m still my own man,
As my Dad was
In his time
And all the fat, angry
Nut eating
Old Dads
Before him
Down the
Long ancestral line.

Each one of us



A fresh April morning
The grass grows lank and silky
The first wood anemones appear
White with a faint hint
Of darkness.
Middle aged men
Amble the supermarket aisles
In shorts and sandals,
A faint sexual energy
Percolates through the air.

We should be journeying
Across the seas
Harried by sea gulls
And the soaring spray.

We should be
Stretched out in deck chairs
Dozing to the whisper
Of the midday tide.

We should be young
Like all this unfurled new life
But we are old and unserene
And energy for us
Is insomnia
And restiveness
Like a wind
Scuffing the dry dunes.


In Waitrose

Amongst the local bourgeoisie
In a Waitrose cafe
Assertive voices
Women in quilted jackets
An elderly man
In smart leather shoes
And a checked shirt
Carefully browsing
The Daily Mail
Until his even smarter wife
Says it is time to go.

On the wall
A giant mural
Of teapots and plates
And flagons of lemonade
A Famous Five feast
Drawn freehand and homemade.

Qualities not to be sniffed at
Which is maybe
Why I want to snort derisively
At my other self.

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