Claret and Blue
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Under a cloak of villainy,
most insistently in my cups
I show and tell and know damn well
that I shall reveal too much,
shame myself with a heavy touch
and lose what gravity I possess.
I’ll shave my head and bare my chest,
display the tattoo on my shoulder –
seeking a seasoned ticket-holder
bloodied and bruised in claret and blues,
not just a friendly fixture.
I’ll draw your picture in The Upper Trinity,
someone to share indignity with me.
There are places where The Trinity
meets The Holte, tunnels I can dig,
fences I can vault, corners
from where I can get a cross in,
boxes I can post a riposte in.
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I should be studying the classics,
swotting Homer and The Odyssey;
I’m chuckling with the masses
at The Simpsons and a referee
afraid to make unpopular decisions,
who disallows what little we are given
and says it isn’t cricket
or poetry or summat.
My scansion scrapes the stanchion
or goes high and wide and handsome;
I was offside, anyhow,
so it didn’t really happen.
We come away with nothing,
water-carriers and navvies,
full of futile fret and sweat.
You raise glasses in remembrance
of some Golden Age within us
and I drain the very dregs
just to forget.
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Red, white, rose or mulled,
we wish our passions to be dulled
or lulled into a false sense of excitement,
fooled to thinking this year will be different;
to live the dream and feign amnesia,
to drown in cups that make it easier to regret –
and the season hasn’t even kicked off yet!
We shan’t be vying for honours;
we are not Gooners but Goners;
Little Englanders to the Big Spenders,
Court Jesters to the Manchesters,
out of contention long before Christmas
and all that might lift us from the gloom
of mid-table obscurity
is a thrashing of Birmingham City.
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We laugh at their fate and at Albion:
Viagra followed by Valium.
The concerted thrust, the boom and bust
then the embarrassed limp from the stadium.
Back to the pop and fizz of Coca-Colaship;
the yo and yo in pursuit of the plateau
on which we’re sat – but we haven’t even got that!
Who can celebrate coming seventh or eighth?
Who compose praise for the commonplace?
We are mere milestones on another’s march,
a scenic start, points to pick up,
the site of an occasional hiccup.
So many shots and nothing in the net!
Have you got the bottle?
There is much to forget.
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