Untitled – a poem from ‘Same Boat?’

This poem by Ellis Howard comes from the new anthology 'Same Boat? Poems On Poverty And Lockdown'.

It is Sunday afternoon. Every window is pushed open and usually we can hear the sounds of shouts and tears from Number 46 as they routinely explain to Sarah that the country is in lockdown and why that means she can’t play footie on the field, even if she does Dettol the flies away, but today is quiet. There’s a stillness.

All I can hear is me Mam boiling water in the pan to make minestrone cup-of-soups for me, her and me Grandad. Cup-of-soups are a delicacy in our house but the packed croutons are hastily whipped out because today is the 1966 World Cup Final and me Granddad, sunken into the couch, remnants of wotsits all over his t-shirt, is ready to relive his youth.

I’m not much of a footie fan. The astroturf has been turned into offices and so me Grandad says I didn’t catch the bug young enough. But I still can’t help but feel Martin Peters started the combover revolution five decades before Justin Bieber. Half way through the game, me Grandad is shouting and busting a gut, me Mam looks terrified that his dodgy kidney will flare, but to me it’s hilarious. Before lockdown I’d sit in the library and watch old people kicking off on TikTok and think they were the funniest thing I’d ever seen.

I reckon if I had an iPhone, me Grandad would go viral, we’d be rich and we could eat cup-of-soups and get as many combovers as we wanted.

My text/poetry is mostly concerned with giving a voice to the glorious and complex lives of those who surround me in Liverpool. This piece is an insight into how those living on the breadline have been forced to make do during the pandemic. I am wholly inspired by my family and friends who met COVID-19 and Conservative policy with energy, humour and kindness. This poem is a love letter to those brave souls who history continually tries to undermine, but we don’t let it. X

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