Daily Change

The Ballad of A Reading Club

Based on The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde

He did not wear his steel toe caps
To kick in someone’s head
So kickers he wore on his feet
To dance in the club instead
To pull a woman, find a f*ck
And get her back to bed

He danced among the twisted youth
In a Ben Sherman shirt of grey
And listened out for cumons said
And admiring glances thrown his way
Yet I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully for a lay

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon such insecure and pretty girls
To tease to tempt to try
Those tip toeing painted sirens gone
With flirtatious glances by

And I?
I and the few other souls
That danced a different ring
Did wonder if these youths
Believed the words that they did sing
When the clubbers all in unison
sung to songs that sang
about the joys true love could bring

Dear Christ the walls of level 1
Did suddenly seemed to reel
And the girls around my distressed head
Did seem to lose a certain sex appeal
As although I was a soul in need
That need to them could not be real

But I think I know what hunted thoughts
Quickened their dance and why
They craved for such simplistic lust
With such a wistful eye
For some had not learnt how to love
So to themselves they’d have to lie

For sex is often compromised
By all let this be heard
Some do the deed with blinkered stare
Some love with hearts of stone
The romantic seals it with a kiss
But so often leaves for home

Some stand alone when they are young
And some when they are old
Some strangle ideals with hearts of lust
As they fulfil their needs left cold
But the bravest live in truth because
Pain grows when lies are told

Some love too little, some lie too long
Some sell and others buy
Some find the truth with many tears
And some with but a sigh
And though each one has the need to love
Not everyone must lie

They do not lie about their name
On a dance floor to kiss and then embrace
A girl to keep their needs in check
Oh, mate you’ve such a pretty face
Would you like to talk of beauty
Over coffee at my place?

They do not lie with insecure girls
Who need to hear them say
That they are their everything to them
And not just a pussy they can slay
Or that they may as well be prostitutes
Except they don’t command the monetary pay

They do not wake at dawn to see
Their potential as a groom
About to live in perfect harmony
Their life and love about to bloom
Like the tiny egg and sperm
About to flourish in her womb

She does not take the test in haste
Nor can she afford maternity clothes
Whilst others judge her as a slapper
For her new found blooming pose
And stressed blood pulses through her veins
Like sickening hammer blows

Oh, how he does not know the pain
Of being branded as a slapper or as a whore
Or anxiety of being pregnant
When you know not what’s in store
Or the pain of seeing what you’ve got
When you wanted so much more

He does not see the babies heart beat
As the ultrasound is read
Nor the terror in her soul
When she wishes it were dead
Nor the pain washed from her eyes
From all the tears she’s shed

She now stares out of her bedsit
And watches the weekends clubbers pass
She thinks back to the ‘good’ times
That leaves her stuck behind this pain of glass
She sits and rolls another spliff
Hopes that the pain will pass

ii

6 months on, Level 1
Ben Sherman shirt of grey
Listening out for cumons said
And admiring glances thrown his way
I saw that twisted youth in Kickers
Whom looked so wistfully for a lay

He did not search his conscience
as do those honest men who dare
To seek a soul in need to love
In both good times and despair
He only sought a soul in need
To entice back to his lair

He did not search his conscience
Nor did he peek or pine
But subdued his thoughts with alcohol
As though it were some functional anodyne
As with open eyes he enticed these girls
After dancing lies and wine

And I?
I and all the other souls
Who tramped that other ring
Forgot if we ourselves did seek
A superficial thing
And watched in gaze of accepting amaze
This man, who could not truthful sing

For so normal it was to see them dance
In a Ben Sherman Shirts of grey
And so natural it was to see them look
so wistfully for a lay
But strange it was to think that he
Had but such a debt to pay

For the female form is beauty
When wrapped around so cute
But grim to see is the crying spree
When one can only answer questions mute
For as hard as he tries
A man must lie, when he has chosen the wrong fruit

For the loftiest place is the seat of grace
For which so few worldlings try
Though so many demand a wedding band
When the union’s but a lie
And through compromised bedroom doorways take
A soul who’ll make them scream or cry

For though it is sweet to be held by another
When love and life are fair
To slip within without the sin
Is both delicate and rare
And so it is in defeat, and drunken heat
That most find love without a care

With curious eyes and sick surmise
We watched him pull a lay
And wondered if each one of us
Might end the night the self same way
For non can tell under what strange spell
A needy soul might stray

At last this youth danced no more
Within this hedonistic den
I saw him kiss a soul in need
Feel her thighs and kiss again
As over 20 minutes and a double gin
He had convinced her that he was the best of men

Like 2 doomed ships that pass in storm
They kissed the night away
They made physical gestures, but said no words
For they had no truthful words to say
For he only sought to quench his lust
To discard her after play

Consumer walls around them both
Two needy souls stripped bare
The world had thrust them from it’s heart
And God from out his care
And the double gin that eases sin
Had tightened up it’s snare

For sex is often compromised
By all let this be heard
Some do the deed with blinkered stare
Some f#ck with hearts of stone
The romantic seals it with a kiss
But the bravest stand the longest time alone

C. R. Wilson 1998

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