Photo by John Williams (2009)































John Turner

On Saturdays when all our mates
were still in dreamland
sleeping off the cider
bought under-age
from an accommodating Sikh
wed pack our kit
and head out to the playing fields
to marmalise the twats
from other housing sinks.

John Turner
was our midfield thoroughbred
lighting up the sullen stretch of ground
next to the motorway
with dazzling displays of virtuosity.
Carving a silk road
through clodding artisans.
Latched on to the ball like Araldite.

After the game
hed weave his magic in the market
hawking Axminsters
to pinching coffin-dodgers.
Paying off a souped-up Morris Minor
fitted out with rear recliners.
When the seats were folded down
hed entertain the skirt
of Bastard Town.

I met him half a lifetime later
in a beach hut
near the water
fresh from a stretch hed done
for thieving copper
from a threadbare church.

His spine was twisted.
With orange fingers
he rolled spliffs
from torn-up tabloids.
Told me hed had dinner with the devil.
An oozing prime-cut,
flanked by all the trimmings.
It tasted of death, he said.