Saturday, 8 July 2017

2 poems by Sharon Phillips


Remember those shaven-headed lads
who loitered by bus stops or outside chip shops
and hollered at girls as they scuttled past?

Those boys who smelled of Brut or Hai Karate,
who had home-made tattoos that swaggered
blue-black across their necks and knuckles?

They were cocks of the walk, back then, in DMs
and Harrington jackets; though they're builders
or accountants now, on match days they flaunt

fine feathers again: bellies overtop drainpipe jeans;
blurred tattoos and tumid veins twine round necks
swollen wide as heads. They barge through crowds
and holler at women younger than their daughters.

Sharon is retired and lives in Dorset. Her poems have been published online by sites including Ink, Sweat and Tears, Algebra of Owls, Amaryllis and Snakeskin.


First published on 22/05/17

What you learn from baking sourdough bread

It takes you six weeks to grow
your starter which is a long time to
wait for a loaf of bread but you think
you will learn how to be patient.

One day you notice that your starter
smells of vomit but no-one has told
you this could happen so you scour
the internet for advice and think
about the absurdity of the metaphor.

You use your starter when it smells
of a satsuma fermented under the sofa
for a week, when its bubbles remind
you of your stomach when you fret.
You prefer not to think about this.

When you pour the starter from its jar,
it reminds you of the spittoon joke.
Although this thought is unpleasant, you
enjoy the tingle of mild transgression.
You decide to buy some gel to spike
your hair but you don’t get around to it.

When you taste the tang of your bread,
you remember being abroad
so you eat it with gherkins
and Black Forest ham.

You read Elizabeth David, learn that
mediaeval bakers called yeast
“godisgoode” and wonder which deity
is responsible for sourdough cultures.
You congratulate yourself on the thought.

In February you find your starter in the fridge
where it has been since December,
behind blocks of special offer cheddar.
You throw it away and buy some yeast.
You still don’t buy hair gel.

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