The Life Exchange

28

The Life Exchange

For two hours every night he traded piety
For pints of warm beer and idle gossip.
Sucking reflectively on a pipe full of black
Shag tobacco
He sat among the bottom pinching, eye raising
1970’s innuendo.
And for those brief few hours he exchanged
The familiar words of god
For the crude banter of barrow boys
And off duty policemen.
Salacious tales of infidelity, market life and
Drunken brawls
Drew indignation from his body like venom
Sucked from a puncture wound.
And on a Friday in the hour before last orders
Were called,
Swathed in gowns of 70’s fashionable flesh,
The tipsy, teetering girls would come
And he strained his eyes on too much cleavage,
His ears on too much laughter,
And all the while his fingers frantically tried
To loosen the knot of a tie
That all day had held him in the choking grip
Of good old catholic self denial.

Dennis Moriarty has read at the Blackwater Poetry Festival

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