South Wales Outlaw by Paul Tristram

Your One Phone Call

You don’t get to ‘Choose Your Masks’
you’re either born this way or not.
I was bottle-fed bedlam.
My first memory
is of hiding under the kitchen table
watching blood run from the tattooed fist
smashing through the glass of our backdoor,
the Old Man was fresh home from prison.
Hiding from the Bailiffs can be fun
but living without a TV set for weeks is not.
My childhood fairy tales were of Dartmoor
and the shit Welsh Prisoners get
in Wormwood Scrubs and other English Jails.
Policemen were the Bogeyman,
if you get lost walk into any pub
and tell them your family name
you’ll be safe until we come find you.
Those Gates on Oystermouth Road were
looming from the moment of my conception.
I was a Ne’er-Do-Well and a Bastard
well before I threw my first punch.
I’m as resilient as a battleship for it
and the…

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