MD Kerr

Tavern of Dreams

Plain poem

Text of the poem

Dark after light, strips
of neon on blue: this isn’t the bit,
here, we just dip
into conversation, grin, collect a glass, brim
sloshing with wine, and we’re out
the back, down the slope, here
with the tables used to be cool, fairylights, wall against wind
but onward: come deeper into the garden of
flagstones, under the willow curling its twigs
down the row of huts, habitats, shacks,
the one before the end – is anyone there?
It’s ours, now. The paint clings to the planks like sky.
The skull grins its spraypaint.
The heater glows overhead. On the table’s wood,
a Sharpie declares
Oxford’s perfection. It wasn’t me
but I agree. Spread out the papers, the felt-tips, roll
a cigarette, roll your shoulders in the heat, roll
ideas in your mind, and to your left
palm trees, banana trees, and vines
declare we’re in the tropics, now.
A sip of wine
loosense the ink and the tip slides
across sheets: octopi, nightmares, pirates, love,
the skull grins and the paint flakes
the plants dry and the clouds gather
the rain spatters another
trip to the dark for wine
carrying it back, the brim
sloshing with thoughts and I just realised
why the octopus matters.
Press the button to bring back the heat
while the plants sing about water
and sink
into the dream, underwater. From the kitcehn
a radio thumps and oil
erupts with garlic: stick the headphones in,
the buskers sing instead and back we go,
back down, here and the centre of town,
palms and tree-ferns, beams and eaves,
skulls and sharks, Oxford slips
into the world of the tavern,
the world of ships.
A sip of wine: I have it.
And here is mine.

Thanks to The Writers' Greenhouse for the prompt to write a plain poem about a place you love.

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