He wore a fluorescent yellow jacket
and rode a yellow lorry,
worked for the council doing odd jobs
like fixing footpaths and emptying bins.
He was a regular sort of guy except
for the ‘walk backwards’ bit.
If you asked him what he did last night
his explanation would start at 6am
and proceed in dull and dreadful detail
which is why you started ‘walking backwards’
to get away.

He bumped into me, in town
(I must have been looking the other way).
I didn’t recognise him at first.
He was now a heavily pierced man;
his eyebrows were coiled with copper wire,
his nostrils rung with shining rings,
his ears looped from tip to lobe.

Biting my tongue the instant
I opened my mouth, I said
“Albert! How have you been?”
Despite his studded lips and tongue
he spared me no minutiae,
no detail was too boring or too small.

I groaned inside and stepping back
noticed the heavy-metal stretched nipples
and jewelled navel glistening in its folds
and wondered if he’d ‘rung’ his private parts,
or if I should oblige!


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