Prize: £50 Book Voucher
My wrists are ribbed steel wings, rusted, oranged,
As I affix the grey tea to my lips. The Earl oversees, knackered,
Having stood on his statue since 1838, like that person at a party
Awaiting the only guest they know, flaunting his kiss-me-quick
Curls and cape. The other person, that one, never showed;
I tip my Styrofoam in salute and remember I’m in company.
He’s a Sandancer sitting still at my side, talking in Toon-talk,
His own dreamed-of dialect, as I nod and sip along unintelligibly.
There’s a network of ‘Northern-ness’ he says,
And I don’t listen; I don’t listen as he talks of pasties, of clichéd
NUFC ‘ha-way the lads’ imagery, because it happens
That I’m one of these people. I’m not a fly in the network or a glitch
In the matrix but part of this web, horrible and happy, not a guest
But part of the party.