My Saviour

Notting Hill, a bed-sit state
she’d fled to from the sticks
on leaving school. CND signs
scrawled on walls, graffiti
bleeding like the Jesus hearts
in all the convents she’d attended.
Long hair, bleary eyes, soul bro’
to the hippies in their purple flares, jellabas,
mumbling wanna score?

Landlady Aggie, largerthanlife poster 
by her bed of Cynthia,
the naked biker-babe,
gossip hawked up
on a phlegmy Belfast cackle.
Lenient when the rent was late, a terror
to the drunken gobshite down the hall
who goosed her. 

Dwayne, a Crosby ’tache,
butterfly patched jeans, Stetson,
finger pickin’ starburst Gibson
cradled all the way from ‘Frisco. Almost
tilting off the bed, off his head
on a pineapple fast, toke
of Acapulco Gold. ‘Nam nightmares. 

Laura Ashley floor-length frock, 
stitched by candlelight
in a Maida Vale squat. She trips,
her cowboy boots spark flies
from black bags ditched by bin men 
backing striking miners.

The day she kissed Dwayne’s scars,
heard tales of paddy fields and
mortar brash as fireworks
watched on weed. The day
he curled her fingers
round a desert rose
she hitched her dress,
joined him at the Registry,
made out, made up
harmonies to I do.




Pratibha Castle


Pratibha Castle lives in West Sussex. Widely publicised in journals and anthologies including Agenda, International Times, IS&T, Spelt, Tears In The Fence, London Grip, High Window and forthcoming in Stand, she has been longlisted and given special mention in numerous competitions including Bridport Prize, Indigo Press and Welsh Poetry Competitions. Her award-winning debut pamphlet A Triptych of Birds & A Few Loose Feathers (Hedgehog Press 2022) will be joined by Miniskirts in The Waste Land (Hedgehog Poetry Press 2023), set in Notting Hill and India in the swinging sixties.

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