Once school was done
and after your tea
of beans on toast
you went with Janice


to the narrow passages
behind the ABC cinema
evening creeping in
she next to you


getting the jitters
street lights
here and there
casting shadows


making pretend giants
and you'd pick up
from the ground


and put them
in your pocket
what do you want
them for?


she asked
make myself
a cigarette later
you said


she said disapprovingly
you mustn't
that's horrible


and those
left over cigarette butts
have got
people's spit in them


but they make
good cigarettes
you said
her face grimaced


you took in
her red beret
to the side
of her fair hair


her blue eyes
on fire
if I did that
Gran'd spank me


well and truly
Janice said
trick is
not to be caught


you said
a rat ran by
and she screamed
a rat ran by


my foot
she stepped back
and grabbed your arm
yes you get them here


at this time
of an evening
you said
I shouldn't be here


she said quietly
Gran thinks
I'm in the park
well as far she knows


you still are
you said
but that's lying
she said


no it is being
careful with the truth
you said
you walked along


the passageway
and came out
on to the New Kent Road
and at the front


of the cinema
with its big billboards
and little photos
of the film being shown


and what was
to be shown
you peered
at the photographs


Janice beside you
how about
I bring you here
on Saturday?


you said
she peered
at the photographs
then at you


it's a cowboy film
she said
yes and its got
good gunfights in it


and I can practice
how they do it
she frowned
not sure


if Gran'd let me
she said
say you're with me
and she will


you said
she didn't look
bit her lip


treat you
to an ice cream too
you said
how much will it cost?


she asked
you said
but don't worry


my old man will pay
he usually does
she bit her lip
a little more


have to ask Gran
she said
you said


then you walked
along the road
past some shops
then stopped


at the fish and chips shop
smell that
you said and sniffed
she sniffed


isn't that good
you said
she sniffed again
smells of vinegar


she said
and fish and chips
you said
she looked at you


her blue eyes
lit up
by the light
from the shop


want some chips?
you asked
I've no money
she said


I've got 6d
that'll get us
a bag to share
she nodded


so you both
went into the shop
and the warmth
and the smell 


and the noise
from some radio
blasting out
a Bill Haley song


and ordered a 6d
bag of chips
and added
salt and vinegar


and walked out
and across the road
and down Meadow Row
the moonlight bright


lighting up
the beginning of night.

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