Darren J. Beaney

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.

Leaving school

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.

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