Darren J Beaney is a hopeless romantic and he means hopeless! He cuts his own hair. He really enjoys a good pint of IPA. He loves music, mainly punk rock, and old Colombian folk music, but lots of other stuff as well. He is one half of Flight of the Dragonfly, who host a regular spoken word evening on Zoom and in a pub Brighton, they also produce FLIGHTS a quarterly poetry, prose and flash fiction e-journal and have just set up as a small publishing press. He has had poems published in several journals and anthologies and has two pamphlets published by the Hedgehog Poetry Press – Honey Dew and The Machinery of Life. His new chapbook – The Fortune Teller’s Yarn (Destiny F*cks With Milo) will be published by Alien Buddha Press in July 2022. He will also have six poems published in the Autumn of 2022 as part of the Singles Collection from Scumbag Press.
He lives with his family and their rescue cats and dog in East Preston, which is nestled on the West Sussex coast.
I remember a few things from infants
holding hands with Tiffany and waking that night screaming. Everyone rooting for World Cup wall chart underdogs not even knowing where Zaire was. Ear pinching swim caps and sub-zero water. Half-hearted heat from compulsory milk. What was that about? Every morning. Oversize bottles in pocket-sized hands. Jousting between straw and titanium plated foil. Battling to force through miles of clotted cream. And that taste (reader please insert metaphor here). That taste piggy backing on the smell lingering, mimicking calf puke. And the excitement of owning the moment. Of breaking the lid, of tunnelling through the cream, of racing to finish first and all of us deafening the room with overdone slurps chasing last knockings.
School dinners, urgh…
1970s infants service from shiny crowned dinner ladies still apportioning rations. No choice in what pigswills alighted on your plate. Hoping, or lying, that mum had written a note so, I could be let off boiled cabbage water or facing the hunchback custard fiend with blemished skin or stewed beyond colour rhubarb. I do not recall ever having chips. Juniors meant Tupperware lunch, triangle cheese, nuts and Umbongo. But, DIY diners were forced to sit separate in top table isolation. Lower school bought choice with weekly prepaid tickets, mislaid meant hunger pains. Moving on up, pubescent luncheon vouchers were scrapped swapped for cold hard cash. For three years I lived off coffee and chips, saved the change and fed my record collection.
On the last day of school, we stood under Papillon skies and giggled in the face of chance. The air lost the taste of lard and stale caffeine filling with the sound of relief. We rolled down smoked green grass and came to rest on recreational stone paths. We sang the bitter orange chorus of a solvent song and contrived a future fit for rascals.