Photo By Jools Thatcher

Photo By Jools Thatcher

The theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method poem is “Killers”. A good topic.

The cold I have, makes for a certain “gravel” in the reading. All in all a win.

Play this poem directly in your browser! Just click the “play” button below:
[audio:JVG_Poem20101031.mp3]

Also have a listen to my album “Drifter

Killers

Killers

There used to be a pub between the freeway and the river
It had a reputation and it wasn’t for the view
A place to vent your spleen while massaging your liver
Where the colour of your shirt was enough to start a blue

Herb Cullen liked a drink, but not half as much as twenty
At birth he bit the doctor; he’d been biting ever since
Those who raised his ire were as mixed as they were plenty
But none acquired the loathing he reserved for one Jack Prince

The pair first met at school, on the playground in grade four
Not even they recalled what caused their feuding to ignite
But it quickly escalated from a spat to open war
As an old classmate noted, it was “hatred at first sight”

Most pubs have their sages, part philosopher, part shrink
To whom motive and reason shine as bright as gold in rock
They see beyond your words to what you feel and how you think
Round here the sage was Fred, a cabbie, nicknamed Spock

Years of driving taxis had carefully honed his art
He’d known both protagonists since he was just a tyke
While most who knew them well would say the two were poles apart
Fred nailed the problem – the pair was too alike

One Friday, Herb was mouthing off, for once Jack took the bait
Not one to easily rattle, but this night he had a crack
“I’ll kill you Prince” swore Herb, words that oozed with hate
He would have, there and then, had not others held him back

Monday next, as usual, Herb was holding up the bar
Acting on a tip off, the Coppers called in for a chat
They found a bloodied knife behind the dashboard of his car
Jack’s blood on Herb’s shirt in a bin outside his flat

“Scumbag Pigs” spat Herb, “You probably stashed them in the bin”
He showed no concern Jack was missing without trace
There were plenty who had witnessed Herb vow to do Jack in
His prints on the knife didn’t help his case

Though they hadn’t found a body, the prosecution case was strong
Herb’s acid tongue helped advance their cause as well
“Whores” he screamed at jurors – it didn’t take them long
Given eighteen years, he damned the judge to hell

Twelve long years he served; twelve long crushing years
Years that claimed his confidence, belligerence and health
He did the time but not the crime, still no point shedding tears
He was sorry Jack was dead, would have liked the chance himself

If he thought hell was rough, then jail was ten times rougher
He did himself no favours trying to play the heavy hand
Herb was tough, no question, but many there were tougher
Without his reputation he left jail a broken man

Herb came home to no-one; to no-one and to nothing
Even the pub, where he once held court, was gone
A deuce can beat an ace unless someone twigs you’re bluffing
Once you’re exposed you’re known forever as a con

Herb received a call at the dive where he was boarding
A caller from Manila said “I heard they let you out”
“Don’t bother trying to trace me this is only a recording”
The voice, Herb knew at once, was Jack Prince, without a doubt

“I set you up you bastard and I’ve got no regrets”
“Only wish I could hear you going mental on the phone”
“I got myself in strife with outstanding gambling debts”
“I thought I’d nail your arse and kill two birds with one stone”

Herb hung up the phone and made a lovely cup of tea
Sat out in the garden and watched the clouds roll by
Read the evening paper, went to bed and watched TV
To commit the perfect murder no-one has to die

© Copyright 2010 Ian Bland

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