A poetry collection – by Paul Tristram

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Dogs With No Tails


They hang around the back lane

of The Salvation Army

all morning.

Twelve of them,

used to be twenty three

last Summer

but the Welsh Winters

are merciless and unrelenting.

Prison and hyperthermia

take more people off the street

than cirrhosis or cancer.

All high level, top shelf

chronic alcoholics.

Drinking Frosty Jack’s

of a daytime,

then methylated spirits

mixed with kid’s cough medicine

of an evening.

Cheap Port and Special Brew,


‘The Brain Knuckleduster’

if it’s been a lucky day

‘Magic Shopping’

You can’t Beg nor Busk

anywhere within the city

without permission and percentage.

They take no shit or prisoners,

everyone of them, to a man,

has been decades on the road.

There’s not one still in their forties,

which means they’re on their last lap

and they absolutely know it.

They call themselves

‘The Dogs With No Tails’

A harder gang of men you’ll not find.

I personally owe them my life

on one extremely bloody occasion

and my freedom and liberty, twice.


Consecutively Not Concurrently


See that old Davey sat in the corner over there?

I call him ‘Old’ but, he’s the same age as me,

we were in the same class together.

He just looks ten years older

because of all his luck with the ladies…

if you can call that luck?

Crying into his pint like a widow at a funeral.

He’s got eleven kids by five different mothers

scattered all about the city,

but, he still spends Christmas on his own,

feeling sorry for himself

and whinging to anyone who’ll lend him an ear.

The ‘Last One’ he was with was alright,

not much of a looker, but, nice enough,

Scottish if I recall correctly?

But, he’s got a butterfly mind…

off from one flower over to the next one.

You just watch him perk himself up

if some skirt walks through them doors.

I tried all that ‘Carrying On’ nonsense myself,

back in my twenties, same as everyone else,

during my first marriage when the kids were babies.

I haven’t got the nerves, patience or constitution for it,

you live and learn eh, or you end up like that mess

over there with his ‘Woe, Woe & Thrice Woe’

Besides, I was sick and tired of getting stabbed.


The Heartbroken Skies Over Lawrence Street


There is a baby crying several doors away

and a dog whining and scratching

at a wooden garden gate close by.

These things, which others merely find annoying,

have become physically painful to her.

Like icicles stabbing into toothache,

a boot heel twisting the flesh of your cheek

or the wretching that follows vomiting

until your throat and stomach bleeds.

‘When did goose bumps start hurting?’

she wonders briefly,

before his ‘Cum-Face’ flashes suddenly

inside her tortured mind

like an old 1940’s camera bulb.

‘Is she staring lovingly into his half-closed eyes

as he peaks and trembles?

Of course she is, it’s where he regresses

back to a helpless little boy again.

When he releases power for a brief moment

and you can taste the ancestry and heritage

in the buzzing air around his handsome face.’

She rips off one more fingernail for luck,

stubs the cigarette out just below her ankle,

then limps over to the broken kitchen,

with fists for eyes, to scald some more water.


Oh, But To Feel Human Again


After traversing that emotional desert

for so achingly long,

with nothing but fading stamina

and wretched determination

to keep you going.

Finger-tip touches and gentle caresses…

bring upon giddying landslides and tidal waves.

The tenderest kiss is an atom bomb

exploding the senses into smithereens,

leaving you gasping to find your breath again.

It’s the ‘Little Things’ that rock, my dear,

building solid foundations

for skyscraper-high feelings.

To spend a blissful, lazy afternoon in bed

and to hear the ‘Ghost of the Child they were’

chuckle out from inside their heart

and smile twinkling through their eyes

as you tickle and torment, playfully…

is the magic and wonder

which makes all of the rest

of life’s scuffed-kneed nonsense seem worth it.


I’m On It and All Over It


That’s difficult, is it?

Well, that just makes it interesting.

I don’t just expect challenges

I demand them.

There is nothing more boring

or tiresome

than everything going your own way.

You can tell me ‘No’

until you’re blue in the face,

until it almost sounds like drumming.

I’ll take it ‘On The Chin’

with a smile

and treat it as fuel and encouragement.

Hard work is not a burden,

it’s a treasure.

Both mountains and molehills

are the very same to me,

one just has a better view.

I’m not waiting ten minutes

for that bus… I’m walking.

It’s just rain

and it’ll help clear the cobwebs away.

Line those problems up

and I’ll do them on my fag-break.

I’m yet to find a sticky situation

that I wasn’t strong enough

to traverse through and overcome.


Dropping Vulgar Stones


Some folk rather the chaotic

Reds & Oranges

to the calming, tranquil

Greens & Blues.

Spanner + Works = Funny!


are mere pathways to arguments,

pig-headed stubbornness

& a vented show of strength.

Find pleasure in the carnage,

demolition instead of building.

Trust, Empathy & Consideration

are not weaknesses.

Yet, viewed through the wrong eyes…

a rose becomes but a weed,

a Monet an object.

Whilst, a broken window

& bloodied, lacerated fist

holds more charm, interest

& thoughtful nostalgia

than Dickens in December.

The real difference between character

is often times as broad as it is long.

Right & Wrong

a childlike hypothesis.

The ‘Structure’ is for pointing at…

the real ‘Truth’ is clouded, hidden

& seldom anywhere near the middle.



Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography
published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids
instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet.
Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press)  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096
‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036

And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope
at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204

You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/








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