Sunday 21 September 2014


Of late
that 8am journey
I take every morning
doesn’t seem so bleak as those previous to recent changes
(dare I say, revelations)
taking place within the office space where,
ever since I started,
slaved for hours for basic pay
and made my way slowly
making cups of tea
to salary
‘til finally I could smile and honestly could say I had an occupation.

Now I wake at day break
without a single yawn
as I anticipate
what happenings lay await for later.

That day they cleared that desk space
and offered it to him
where they placed a polished name plate
which read only ‘Tim’.

Tim’s American
he drinks Americanos
with an extra shot of coffee
though after 12 it’s strictly camomile.
His uncle went to Harvard,
though he isn’t half as smart as Tim,
and when he’s dead
he’s set to get a great inheritance 
and he’ll never have to work again.

His suits aren’t just any suits,
they’re tailored M&S
dry clean only
dry cleaned each week and pressed.
I bought online and didn’t get the size right
100% Nylon
trousers too tight around the thighs
and the flies bulge out,
it’s been said more than once before,
I bother females working on my floor.

Tim car drives like a dream,
It’s gotta be:
only him in it,
on a straight road
no headwinds
but when it kicks in
it’s such you’ve got to see it to believe it.
It’s a SEAT.
I haven’t even passed my theory test,
I haven’t taken it.
I don’t have a provisional,
I guess I never will,
but then I get a discount rail ticket,
and if I could drive,
there’s still no one I could visit.

Maybe Tim?

Tim once read a whole book on kung-fu,
including how to do moves you won’t know have killed you,
and I’m just saying,
just incase,
you pace up behind him,
even if your steps are silent,
he was telling me about this muscle memory
which means instinctively,
within an instant,
without thinking,
all the training ingrained in him will kick in.
But if anyone harmed a single inch of Tims skin,
I swear I will kill him,
or her.
I swear.
That beautiful skin.

He’s pretty much got a six pack,
if the light’s right and he sits back,
and he’s just done some crunches.

We’ve hit the gym twice now,
I sat on the static bikes and watched him as he worked out.
Both times I passed out.
My trainer says my 2 litre Tupperware of humus
that I eat every lunch time is not enough.
So, since then,
despite the investment,
via debit card payment,
as a statement for a new way of life that I made,
I’ve decided for those coming up eleven and a half months,
the money I have promised them,
I didn’t even want.

And it was worth it for those 2 showers after.
Those 2 showers,
shared by 2 men,
naked to the flesh,
except for my swimming shorts,
unsure of changing room etiquette,
I’d got it wrong of course,
and once in
I could hardly strip
and alas
the second time
I’d forgot and got in in them again.

but what a thing,
let me let you in
covered in shower gel and shampoo,
Tim bare skinned,
not a stitch in between me and him,
him and I,
water running down our bodies,
not three feet aside,
he’s got
what we call ‘on the flop’
more then
than enough
as required for the job,
and one day
some lucky lady laid beneath,
will receive Tim,
and God bless those that sail within.
all that lather
that I wish I was
I bubbled more than any soap,
just for you and only you,
‘til both of us were washed and free together
and forever in our promises forever,
for forever.

Tim told this joke just the other day
and he had us in stitches.
I can’t tell it like him,
but seriously I thought my ribs would splinter,
ripping out my shirt,
spurting blood all over my 
so called collegues,
so much it filled the room,
and filled their mouths,
and drowning
their eyes will beg for forgiveness,
but I won’t give into it,
even Stacy who gave me those three days holiday pay
isn’t innocent.
They all laughed.
She laughed.
They all laughed.

Tim didn’t laugh.
Tim wasn’t there.

I hate the 6pm train,
late every day,
straining at the sides,
containing tired faces,
5 stops for my station,
the flicker of the light strip they won’t replace,
piss stains,
the unmanned ticket station,
vacant without fail.
home to the microwave,
radiating a rotating plate
of perforated Sainsburys basics
meals for only one
made with hate.
Thankful it’s not Friday night
each time I tuck me in
‘cause I can’t stand the 2 days of weekend 

without Tim.

(c) Dave Selby 2014

Sunday 12 January 2014

In That Kitchen

In that kitchen we try so hard to make food, but try even harder not to get called a fuck and told we’re useless and everything we did we might as well have not have done. In that kitchen the stoves get hot and make us feel as hot as it and thirst to stand below the fans for more than just the second we can. In that kitchen potatoes boil beside us, as we boil in suits of sweat and cause odours to bend our sense of smell away from everything that ugly, and try so hard to make a sweet smell in. In that kitchen we’ve bled from small holes whipped into our backs. In that kitchen I’ve needed more than what I’m paid to have a piss, but kept it in and added salt, pepper, butter into asparagus. In that kitchen - made of friends and sworn enemies with missing fingers - punch broke tiles and dragged knives across my arms, and took off fingerprints and left them frying with the chips, too scared to tell. In that kitchen, waited, working to smoke a cigarette and growing angrier each minute, ‘til someone lets it out of me by finding out how to make us all laugh. In that kitchen slipped on bleached floors and bits of food, and everything can be slipped on I’ve found out by now, no matter how many yellow warning signs anyone can put up. In that kitchen I hated myself and loved everyone else for letting me stay in that kitchen. In that kitchen I’ve died a few times and wanted to kill myself a whole lot more. In that kitchen I learnt how to smile, but not as much as I forgot how to.  

Dexter Selboy (c) 2013

For You If I Was Akhmatova

i watched and saw that she loved
the sun between eleven and three with no clouds,
as long as her hair smelled of heat
and her skin was brown as last year.

i loved my shadow,
which she reminded me was too big,
a lumber sundial,

always at the wrong time.

Dexter Selboy (c) 2013

Saturday 5 May 2012

You can get one free with every retirement

These ticks and tocks are markers of wasted time,
imagined punctuation only noticeable in utter silence,
 resting ears,
letting eyes lay covered
and leaving no taste on the tongue.

Waving forms rising and falling,
chalking up the only marks that matter.

Every second a space to be filled,
each rise in the cog a climb towards a moment
to be made memory.
Hand through hand slower than the one held above it,
ready to catch it’s significance in the movements.

The lines of these palms aren’t for reading,
it’s thin arms refuse to bend,
and the grip rests loose and easy,
throwing seconds too fast to be caught.

© Dexter Selboy 2012

Saturday 7 April 2012

Boots for Blues at four in the morning

“Just sit and listen”, he’d tell us.
“Dancing’s for fags and tall boys who don’t know how to tell stories”.
And the 88 black and white keys would lay balanced in front of him,
patiently waiting to help illustrate the tale.

His finger bones worked his hustle,
bending and reaching for the words,
shaping similes,
dipping under the odd idiom
and sketching out heavily pencilled metaphor.

A semicircle of drunken illiterates sat bent and swaying,
drifting into the days concluding fake believe,
wrapped up warm in a sleep shaped lullaby
more sweet than their own mothers mellow mewing’s.

Strings felt the felt,
hammered to their yawning song,
fingertips tapping rhythms like a
Morse code poet
(“If anybody’s receiving this,
we got cold beer and tobacco.
Bring women.”).

Quiet choruses of hand on hand on knee approval,
a slow bowled request sharply batted down
fading “Fuck you”s.
And now clear space for
a quiet voice someone remembered was theirs,
neck stiff, tightly letting out air,
the way a white man sings,
holding like with both hands,
as though it was the first girl he found
he couldn’t just bump.

One for his baby,
the funny valentine,
found slouched and pouting in a frame on the fauxhogany planks of the upright,
next to a tumbler of shop brand scotch
we placed on a pedestal just to piss out.

My best memories got typed up in those 88 keys,
punched inky relief’s, dusted off in second hand poster paper
(one side for you, one side gone with the has been),
carving the curves the 26 alphabet letters weren’t enough
to tell the whole truth of,
while my shoed feet danced silently,
leading my oil paint partner under a trailing spot light.

© Dave Selby 2012

Monday 16 January 2012

154 lbs of dead wait

The way we found him,
I’m pretty sure that’s not what he wanted us to see.
His blood was running like a confession from his nose,
trying to feed some emptying reservoir.
There was a chance this was a cry for help,
but most likely
by this time his voice had become horse,
and all his shouting had amounted to nothing more than
eyes balling his,
and blank expressions from people he wanted to be caught by.

When you’ve explained all your arguments
and found no competitor,
you will have to admit that you’re right.

It’s an ugly fight when you’re stood bloody faced
in the corner of a ring
you didn’t even want to be in.

© David Selby 2011

Friday 13 January 2012

Half way up a hill, shouting for us to get on

It was just that one time that he’d fell asleep in the road of a morning, but that was enough to have a car ride over his leg and smash his thigh open. The car didn’t stop, it was too early.
I never really knew him till his thirty something birthday, when he rolled up to the gates at my flats, phoning and buzzing, tapping and shouting, and me thinking a whole night was about to begin. I didn’t see him that often.
At a music festival he’d gone blackout on Dutch pill dust, Mandy and Sunshine, we dressed him up like he was in the C.I.A. and he spent the next two hours marking perps and checking through handbags. When you’re awake for 32 hours and then have a snooze in a baking portaloo, things tend to ride out that way. He’d lost it. He told me how to gather my believers on a RyanAir, and when I suggested he drink some water, he demanded I,” Either listen and understand, or fuck off and stop wasting” his “time”. I wasn’t, I was trying to get it back.
After all this, the way I’d seen him so honestly, he stood there outside my flats, phoning and buzzing, tapping and shouting, and when I asked what he wanted to do the whole night, I saw he only wanted the drugs.

© David Selby 2012