Rubbed Two Sticks Together
Poem by Martyn Speed
Have a shave they said.
I didn’t know how, so just before bed
Dad had to do it.
Only thirteen. Bless.
I sat with my music on the coach.
Travelled for hours past the flowers.
To the middle of nowhere.
But with the lads.
We all sat by the fire with heated spikes in our eyes.
We made bombs. Baked bean cans full of kerosene lined up
in the grass like they were being judged for a fight.
Glistening in the torchlight.
String fuses like hair.
We didn’t lose our hands, but we nearly did. Off came the last lid.
Boys will be boys.
Then we got the petrol can and someone threw it on the bonfire.
It sailed through the air onto the orange nightmare like a crashing plane.
We let the dragon breathe onto brown leaves and kindling.
It lit up our tiny faces. Ecstatic teeth.
We sat around another kind of light. The one-legged kid
didn’t have to worry about his remain anymore.
Torchlight again, hanging on a cord.
Then we talked about women’s vaginas. Ghost stories occasionally.
Torch resting under the teller’s chin. Magazines.
There were no adults at the camp.
We blew them and their rules up.
Would’ve done. If they were there.
We didn’t care
about the security cameras which couldn’t take a swing at us.
I awoke to a strange morning. That feeling.
And when the sun pushed its way up through the English cloud
and we saw it dancing on a far away ground,
morning cold lapping at our tongues and eyelids,
we went into town.
We traipsed through the forests. Hiked.
The dew licked us. Tripped us up.
When, over the green hills, we saw
the bright stone and cement of an urban world,
we all went to buy lighters.
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