I like pubs
Not your stripped pine, food on a slate type of pub
But real pubs, with slightly sticky carpets and dart boards
I used to like to visit the pubs of Bristol,
all marked out on a map in my room, a dot for every one.
Friday nights in the Portcullis in Staple Hill, have a few pints,
Buy some cockles from a chap in a boater with a wicker basket over his arm
Later buy a War Cry from the Sally Army, did it really have a quiz in it?
Wandering down to Kings Street on a Sunday afternoon
Listening to the Trad Jazz in the Duke of York
A street full of pubs with names to conjure with,
The Naval Volunteer, The Llandoger Trow
Working one night at the Maurentia at the bottom of Park Street, never going back, never getting paid,
The landlord had me pouring dregs back into bottles to serve again
Needing new boots so working shift after shift
at a pub on Black Boy Hill to be able to afford them,
I can’t remember its name now
Swift halves of cider in the Corrie Tap,
just the one that turned to several
with heated debates on politics and drunken walks home across the Downs.
Mid week walks down to Hotwells Road,
to pubs full of bikers and dreadful metal bands, most of them now flats or gastro pubs
A seedy pub in the Gloucester Road
where a guy tried to sell me a stolen TV.
Last orders in the Cambridge Arms after an evening of essay writing.
Racking my brains to remember the pub on the Triangle where I first tasted a ham and cheese toastie.
Years later, I counted the dots,97 I could have got to a 100 if I had only tried harder