A Bowlful of Tongues

As we are swallowed by the city’s
lips, open like a kiss,
we all find something to shout about,

the jib of the rain sheared pure
from the backs of pullover clouds
by the falling nuts and bolts
of swearing sprayed by sentimental truckers.

A booing flight of volleyed songbirds
drop shadows all across villa park, croaky throated
with joining in that famous folksong sung
by the proud Tilton singers,
who have proved, that if you keep right on,
eventually, paradise will be yours.

If you happen too quick you’ll remember
to forget the grief that greets as you look back
at the big bloke you’ll never meet until
it’s too late, confronting those who’ve lost
the plot banged against the bumper in front.

Spaghetti steams with a hiss pop cackle of radios
on the blink and a tape of the Status Quo unspooling
like the roads straightening beyond Birmingham calling
in our accent crafted from bitter and graft.

When you bleed out from the Heart towards wherever
it is you feel comfortably zipped,
through suburbs coupled up to share a name
and Somewhere towns someone, somehow,
must love,
but not us,

by Matt Nunn

Matt Nunn was born in West Bromwich in 1971. This poem comes from Happy Cos I’m Blue, his second collection. He is a freelance writer and poetry workshop leader and lives in Birmingham. ‘A Bowlful of Tongues’ was commissioned by BBC Radio to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the opening of Spaghetti Junction.

The Heaventree Press is an independent poetry press based in Coventry. For more information on Heaventree and to buy Happy Cos I’m Blue, please visit the Heaventree Press website.