Paul Tanner

our indie goss
I’ve had it on cassette 
I’ve had it on CD
and now I’ve got an mp3 of it on my phone,
and I’m telling you:
whatever the format, it’s always the same:
two minutes and five seconds
into Ceremony by New Order,
the volume jumps. 
I can’t figure out if it’s just the bass 
being twanged especially heavily 
or an actual recording blunder,
but I swear,
in any format I listen to, the volume always seems to jump then,
even on the remaster. 
I don’t care if I’m wrong or mad. 
a part of me likes feeling like I own this observation,
like it’s a secret between me and the band,
and that’s ok:
after all, isn’t that what all music should sound like?
of course, 
if you
dear reader 
have heard it too, 
then I guess we’re both in on the secret 
and that’s ok too:
isn’t that what all writing should feel like? 
a cold pillow evening 
standing at the delivery doors out back.
smoking a roll-up 
made up of the fag ends 
of other roll-ups,
you whirl the stiff bastard of your left ankle 
until it finally cracks
whereupon, right, whereupon
some prick behind you 
feels the need to point out that 
“your shift only started about 10 minutes ago”. 
some prick that
may or may not be your manager – 
if she isn’t yet, she will be soon enough 
with that attitude –
there’s a little ugly bird whose breed you’ll never wiki 
doing a sort of flat-footed tap dance 
on a low wall opposite. it looks like it should be smarter than
that. like it’s pretending it’s happy. 
“well?” you hear. 
evidently she’s still standing behind you. 
she’ll be manager any second now. 
a scab slides off your left knee 
only to fall into your sock 
like a cornflake, wet on one side
and no one asks the bird what it’s up to.  
the happier repressed 
they say
is in their own hell
but really
it’s usually a hell
of someone else’s making:
a job 
or a boss
or a landlord 
a cage you were bequeathed.
but if you’re truly in 
your own hell,
like say 
from indulging a bad friend
or by choosing to be miserable 
with a miserable partner
then congratulations:
you’re about as free
as we can get.
just keep
your freedom 
the hell away 
from me.

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