ROB (The Lad’s Poetry Project 3)

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Me and the lads are in the Beagle
carbo-loading after the game
we’ve got pitchers of pale ale
plates of chicken wings
nachos topped with something
that looks suspiciously like cat food.
It’s pulled pork, I’m told,
which seems somehow apt
as I look around the table.
It’s the usual conversation
goals scored, goals missed
an unresolved conflict lingering
like a fart in an elevator.
Two of the lads are saying nothing
engrossed in stroking and poking
small rectangular tablets
as if expecting a message
that will change their lives
a revision to the ten commandments, perhaps,
one that sanctions the pulling of pork.
Whatever it is,
they can’t leave those little slabs alone.
Opposite me, Rob, an uncompromising centre half
with little skill and a liking for the long ball
is tucking head down into a plate of poutine,
fries covered in cheese curd and gravy,
suddenly with uncharacteristic speed and accuracy
he fires a gravy covered fry at the phone boys
“put down your fucking phones”, he says quietly,
and out of nowhere I’m consumed by a wave of emotion
and I realise this is my community
and this is why I come here,
the level of discourse,
this is why I come here.

The challenge from Sarah Connor over at dverse:

This week, I’d like you to think about that balance between the individual and the community. Where do you stand on the spectrum between lone wolf and team-player? How does your community support you? What are the communities you’ve chosen? What are the communities that have been thrust upon you? Can we be human without other humans? What are the threads that stitch us into place? They may be good or bad, or somewhere in between, but they are certainly there.

This is poem number 3 in  a series of poems called The Lad’s Poetry Project. The goal of the series is to give space to a subject that is not normally encountered in poetry, Lad Culture. The only guidelines are: 1) The poem must begin with the phrase, “Me and the lads” 2) The tone must be somewhat less than elevated.




18 thoughts on “ROB (The Lad’s Poetry Project 3)

  1. kim881

    I haven’t the faintest idea about Lad Culture, Jim, but I like the idea of your Lad’s Poetry Project and the minimal guidelines – the second one made me smile. I wonder if there are any other topics that are rarely encountered in poetry. This poem took me into a realm that is alien to me, being female, not particularly sport-loving, and vegetarian – a bit too meaty for my liking, though enlightening! I get the sense of community – and hooray for Rob telling the boys to put their phones away!


  2. sarahsouthwest

    I just love this poem. I have a few lads in my life – I know how important that lad culture is, and how disregarded. I think Simon Armitage brushes against it at times, particularly in his war poetry. This is so straightforward, but then there’s that current of love underneath it, that valuing of something so taken for granted. What a great project to take on. I want to read more.


  3. Sherry Marr

    I love the sound of the Lad’s Project, and you have captured its feeling well in this poem – the being together in various ways, the sudden recognition that “this is my community – this is why I come here.” We all need this feeling.


  4. earthweal

    I love this too — the narrative is so breezy and the point stays hidden for some time — just time with the lads — when someone speaks and we are reminded that every community counts. Well done. – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

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