Matt Alton

the history of a name

on the playground
			I told them
	my grandad    post-war naval service    owned
		Alton Towers				      that a select few
schoolmates would be equipped
					with free tickets
	and an arsenal of brags for next term

			in the eternal present of who’s it? perhaps
	I craved some history
				where nicknames stuck
	like fat to a pan    			I sought the status
of a Somebody

			or    public sector desk job    it could be
that now	in the telling
				I fabricate this memory
	to lend my childhood
					some depth

	or	nervous breakdown and early retirement
			I saw
that a name is never far
		   from a constellation of twisted metal
	           looping back to the same point
with sweetness and sickness in the belly

Not the Staircase of Your Dreams

The phone cord spirals three steps up
and I cram my ear to the receiver.
Deep enough and his breath might

helter skelter me into that quiet room.
Hours, weeks, years go by. Hairstyles change,
follicles retire. My voice cracks

and kintsugis back together. I stretch
the wire to the next step up –
a game I play to keep things interesting.

Copper is scrapped and travel with
nothing to hold seems unlikely.
Gaps in conversation widen, miles multiply,

air pollutes despite my refusal
to fly. The helix that binds us is tugging
with no space to spring back.

Matt Alton is a Brighton based poet whose work has been published by Ink Sweat & Tears and played on BBC Radio Sussex.  He has been commissioned by Poems by Post as their July 2021 poet.  He was a student of the Creative Writing Programme 2020/21 and has accepted a place on the MA in Creative Writing and Education at Goldsmiths for September 2021.

Flights. Issue One, June 2021