Another Scream From Block Six
A freezing shiver ran down my spine
as I heard it split open the sky
at first like a hawk in pain
then finally slithering through a moan
and out into a pitiful gurgle.
Such Misery and Wretchedness
screeching from that Tortured Soul,
the Agony of Spirit perfected in Sound.
“Poor John!” I thought out loud.
“Where are the Angels for you?”
Then shaking my frowning head
I resumed my rambling walk
around the Victorian red brick walls
on a damp, misty evening
up on this remote Berkshire hill.
I learnt to do it in Swansea Prison’s
Young Offenders Unit,
you could turn a match
into 2 and sometimes 3 lights.
You’d put a single matchstick
down upon the table
get a biro pen
and place the tip just at the base
of the match head.
Then BANG! the top of the pen
with your free palm.
I became quite an expert at it
until I smuggled in a flint stem
from a plastic Clipper lighter.
Built a little box out of matches
slightly smaller than a matchbox
with 2 round tunnels running through it.
I put the flint stem in one
and in the other I had
a string of braided mop head.
I would strike the flint wheel
and the sparks would ignite
the end of the braided mop head
causing it to singe and smoulder ember
and I would light my roll-ups off that.
Nowadays you get a disposable lighter
in your Prison Settling-In Pack
but back in the day that’s how we did it.
Besides, when you’re only making pence
for cutting straps or making grey mailbags
every little corner you cut helps.
A top hat shadow dances
along the walls of the back lane.
A silver-tipped walking cane
strikes and sparks
upon uneven cobblestones.
The stench of his alcohol breath
and her cheap perfume
mist up together
before their porcelain-like faces.
Her mouth a blood-red
smeared cash-register of curses,
his eyes as black as his heart.
They twist and turn quickly
one more tight alley corner
in the seedier part
of Old London Town.
Arm in arm they enter
an abandoned livery stable
and head up the creaking stairs
to the safety of the loft.
There upon 2 wooden pallets
they sit themselves down,
count up their little money,
share a stolen apple
he slashes with a razor
he flicks from his threadbare sleeve.
Then with opium-pipe ignited
they huddle close together
to watch the Electric Moon,
through the broken window,
shine down upon the rippling
water of The River Thames.
Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories and sketches published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight, this too may pass, yet.