London Fields by Boz

As I sat watching the ducks on the water, there was a grunt from behind the wall. Eight fingers with black broken nails, appeared at the top of the wall. Then a dirty gymshoe attached to a skinny leg: grazed and scabby with a darned grey sock rolled down round the ankle. Then a mop of black hair and a grimy face, reddened with exertion, appeared between the fingers. With one more effort he cleared the wall and was standing beside me.

“Watcha!”, he said.

“Watcha!”, I replied.

He stood for a while, looking round, taking it all in, taking possession. This five-stone Napoleon scanned the debris of the bombed-out row of houses with his eyes only, not moving his head. Satisfied, he stuck his hand deep into the bulging pocket of his patched grey flannel shorts and pulled out a crumpled packet of 5 Woodbines, took one out and lit it, striking a loose match on the wall. He took a long, complacent drag of the cigarette, wiped his nose on his sleeve again, spat noisily, looked me up and down with a sneer and said,

“Got away from your Mum, then?”.

I shrugged, sneered like him and said nothing. My Mum worked and she would leave the house before me. I never had any problems, but it suited Tommy to think I was a bit of a Mummy’s boy.

“Got any money?”.

“Got me bob dinner money. You?”.


Some of us had a shilling for our dinner money so when we got hungry we duck into Hoxton street and get some pie ‘n’ mash at Fortunes or some chips across the road. Tommy never had a lot of money on him so he tucked into whatever was going.

He stood, saying nothing. Holding the soggy end of the cigarette between his thumb and first finger. The burning end pointing into the palm of his hand. Watching the ducks, malevolently. I could see he was itching to throw stones at the ducks.

“Is Jimmy coming out?”

“Probably still in bed. ‘Is mum goes out early. Wait for the bell and we’ll go and find ‘im”.

I could see he was itching to get going, but we couldn’t move or make too much noise until the school bell had rung and the last stragglers had left the streets. This piece of waste land had a large tank of water sunk in it to help put out fires during the bombings. Its attraction to us was the wall that hid it from the street. Once we were sure, we’d be off like monkeys over the wall and across the extensive bomb-sites. Passing past prefabs we would pick up another couple of mates.

Fragments by Boz


Starkie’s Place by Boz

I awoke in the early hours with a chilling feeling of guilt; as if I had that night  committed some horrendous crime for which I would be pursued for the rest of my life. My body was cold and damp, and I shivered despite the warm summer night. My nightclothes were wet; as if drenched with dew after a night sleeping in the open air.

The priest’s housekeeper, a woman, well past middle age, was five doors along from my room. In the night I had heard her sobbing so loudly I could not understand how she did not awaken the whole house.

Then I remembered that, apart from the housekeeper, I was alone on this landing, having arrived late and uninvited.

The floorboards were cold, tacky and gritty on my bare feet. I pulled my mackintosh over my pajamas and walked out into the corridor. I shivered and my teeth rattled.

The old lady was sat up in bed. Her hair dishevelled; the previous evening it had been neatly and sternly held in a bun. Her face was broken in misery and despair.

Fragments by Boz

Somewhere in the Welsh Hills by Boz

Somewhere, in the celtic hills of Wales a wolf howls in  the
soul  of a miner, down in his heart a fire burns and in his  ears
the  crash  of iron and the yells of fighting echo. Down in the
depths of the forest his legs walk, in the skies his God flys and
in the sea his enemies wait.

Down  in  the valley as the dawn breaks, you  can  hear  the
march of boots as the men wake.

Fragments by Boz