6 poems by Bradford Middleton

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradfordcoy/2955452287/ brad.coy cc by
Photo credit: brad.coy / cc by


This life of mine has become trapped
In the lacklustre slow lane of a side road
Labelled no turning back from here
With no sign of hope or salvation out
On the horizon of life that has now
Simply been reduced to getting through
The shift at work and having enough
To cover the rent at the start of every month

Since my queen left me I’ve been bored and alone
Like a clown with no audience to play for
No more fun now as it’s a serious time
Of that there is no doubt but all I want to do is
Go out, get drunk, get high and have some fun
With a girl like her; but alas there ain’t
Many of her type round these parts so all I got to do
Is continue to exist until the next bout of fun


It was a night I shall never remember
The one in that bar on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco
Where the legends of yore would go to get plastered
And for one night only I became one of them

Shuffling in, feeling nervous for no real reason
I get to the bar and find a stool on which to rest
Calling the bar-man over I order a beer and sit back
Taking in this legendary view

At the bar are a few who seem to have been there all day
And everyday before for the last forty years
Whilst all around are kids reading beat books hoping to become like their heroes
But me, I’m just being the me I feel most comfortable with

As the beer drains down swiftly and lovingly
I move on to get a whisky and then it comes to me
A plan of action to make this a night I’ll never remember
So on I plough down the bar sampling every last whisky in the joint

I chase them down with more imported beer until a point
Where I can just about remember some of the old guys at the end of the bar
Coming over and recounting stories of Janis and Jack
Who used to drink like I am right now

I’m drunk beyond belief but my head is in that place that it sometimes goes
When it’s had a bit too much and I call the bar-man over
He is not pleased as he wanted a quiet Tuesday night but no chance of that with me around
Young man I taunt to a man who may be older than me

I want to try this drink you sell, it’s called a Kerouac
Can you make me one? I ask
I think you’ve had enough already comes his reply so I know
I have to up the ante and challenge him some how

How about a little wager? I say
If you make me one and I can drink it?
No chance, you’ll never finish one of mine he taunts
Smiling at the memories of past flies who had thought they could handle the insanity

Two shots tequila, two shots white rum and then throw in some juice for colour
But he pours them big and as he brings it over he tells me if I can drink it down in one
And make it to the door without falling over I can have my tab expunged
I look at him dead in the eye and feel his confidence falling off the crevice

Down it goes and down his mood goes
A hundred buck bar tab is his and he’s astonished at the ease with which it was despatched
As I stand and walk towards the door I turn and take a bow for my fans at the end of the bar
Who are clapping their appreciation at the heroic drinking of the out-of-towner


Sitting around, bored and alone again
Sunday night what better way to pass the time
Than by getting high and a little bit drunk
And writing a few lines

In this life of solitude and sadness
Very little brings a smile to my face
As much as sitting around writing lines
A little high and a teeny bit drunk

I’m glad that not all life is like this
As then I’d never get anything done
Except writing these poems on the
Brink of a never-ending suffering


The long way home is by train
It starts at the break of dawn and
Comes to a thankful end just
After the dark fills its night

I wake a flummox trying to feel
Human but alas it’s too early for that
But I still got to go, go to the train station
The first one of many today

That day starts with a walk along
The coast and up a hill but from here
It just gets worse; through London
In the middle of its rush-hour

Tense, angry people all corralled in
A train, hurtling towards where they
Got to go, it ain’t ever fun but I think
To myself at least I only do it once a year

From London to Paris is a wonder once
You’re off our blessed isle and moving through
The vast French countryside onto the
Pulsating metropolis that is the city of lights

Through Paris I move along the metro rail
Navigating my way down line number 5 to a
Station by the river where I can finally get ready
With only four more hours before at last I’m home


I wake and soon realise all my lighters are broke and I’m out of rolling papers too
There is only a pipe and 2 matches left and it’s far too early for anything like that
So I go out in search of papers and a light but I’ve only got seventy pence to my name
Making it round to the convenience on the corner without passing a single person smoking;
Damn health nuts I can barely tolerate but what if the shop didn’t sell matches?
It would be the start of a hard long walk because I couldn’t last a day without a smoke

I plead with you to start smoking; it’s so hard to find one on the street these days
And I understand why at eight pound a packet or the hassle of roll-ups but you’ve got to, please!
It will be for the safety of every one around because there are those of us
Who just go mad at the idea of not having any thing to smoke
So come on do it for us, give us another person to stop and beg a fag off
Other wise one day this town will be awash with nutters out on the street seeking a nicotine fix


The time has come; I’ve had enough
She dropped the big one and with it
Came the realisation that nothing will ever change
If I stay here any longer it could be the end for me

So all I can say is goodbye
You bastard, you came ever so close
But I escape, just about, intact
With no apparent major scars to show

It’s been a hell of a ride but when I got to
Thinking that I would never get out
It got me going crazy, out of my mind
So now it’s got to be the time to go

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