David Dalton: ‘Definitive Biography’ and ‘When the Sports Centre Closes’

Definitive Biography

No scraps for vultures;
diaries, notebooks, letters—
burn the lot.
No manure for fresh lies.

Or, scramble it up
and scatter it widely
for random unboxing—
ten, twenty, ninety years hence!

Always hedging their bets.
None will have the title.

David Dalton

When the Sports Centre Closes

When life drains out of a building—
when darkness clicks on
and they shut the doors
and the cars drive off
shouting goodbye,
as they chuck cigarettes in the gutter to die,
and you find you’re suddenly alone
on the street outside
in cool, quiet air,
where minutes stretch like chewing gum
while windows stare glassily black;
and the night puts its hands on your shoulders,
leaning closer to peer at your watch,
and goosebumps pop all over your neck
and everything ticks louder than ever
until approaching headlights
pull up with no fanfare—
one welcome hero
to wend you warmly home.

But if you went back inside,
with your footsteps and torch,
would the tiniest echo of a cheer
still be wriggling in the highest corner?

David Dalton


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