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.