༺ bucket ༻

youth club

we’d not done a show
together before
me and Dik

a famously rough
council high-rise
booked us
for their youth club

we were given
a little cubbyhole
some tiny store room
to get ready in
about one hundred kids
mostly black
under fourteen-ish
were making
rowdy noises
as we stepped out

around the stage area
stood four or five of them
facing out
towards the crowd
arms folded
being the law

a pang of apprehension
to realise
these tots
needed security

we probably juggled
and might’ve unicycled
clowning around
but it was a surprise
to me
as much as them
when Dik
did his escapology routine

he produced chains
and locks
and had volunteers
to bind him up
and put him
in a sack

there was a countdown
backwards from ten
as he struggled on the floor

they went ballistic
as we got to
“three two ONE!”
and Dick burst out
wearing nowt
but a posing pouch
sequins glittering
around his bits
and still
all chained up

pandemonium broke loose
people shouting
and rushing forwards
the guards shoved back
some people fell
and so we legged it
back to the cubbyhole

a forest
of juvenile hands
banged on the glass
with much shouting
and general uproar
as we hastily
put on our street clothes

the mini bouncers
escorted us out
we made the street
and legged it once again

around the corner
we slowed down
and turned back
hearing a high
little boy voice
a wee head
popped around the corner
and called out
“we liked you really!”

image credit
with thanks to Dik Downey

hands in chains
hands in chains
HC: 2020