When weekends ended with Summer Wine,
my stomach filled with dread at impending school.
I dreamt of staying out late in clubs,
not drinking under bridges
by torchlight, where passing
trains or cars covered
our whispered words.
First chance I had to swap Ouse for Aire,
I took it;
became spoilt for takeaways and buses,
a view of the Corn Exchange, pre-night
vodkas on our balcony, then Headrow House.
Plus, a thousand dates until The One,
who drove on day trips to my folks;
we left by five with commitments;
Dad’s stay longer next time would see us off.
Then it all stopped.
We watched the daily briefings in our
white-washed lounge which suddenly
needed pictures, new shelving, a desk.
I was at home for a parcel, left out on the street.
We made tea for the opening ceremony;
hand-made masks from Mum,
wrapped in love and worry.
A hundred Zoom calls later,
I booked a ticket,
sat down on weathered upholstery,
appreciating the peace of empty seats.
Gazing through splattered glass,
I blinked and my hometown opened;
Meccano over Dutch waters,
cranes around a salt and pepper sky.
My carriage pulled up to grinning faces.
We three fleet-footed to the exit,
out onto a concourse
dusted with glitter and spilt coffee.
I received a concrete reminder to
Please keep your distance;
reinforced by the blank billboard up ahead.
Passing hexagonal signs of the seasons,
a sole daffodil nodded,
its welcome reinforced by
the car horn of a school friend.
As Dad led us onto Boothferry Road –
past three cranes straining
for a glimpse of new arrivals –
I took off my mask,
texted my significant other:
I’m stopping the week.
*Day-blink – The moment at dawn where, from some point on the mast, a lookout can see above low-lying mist which envelops the ship.
Jo Weston is a poet and writer based in Nottingham. She graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a distinction for a MA in Creative Writing. Her work has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2016), long-listed in the Mslexia Poetry Competition (2017), and in 2019 she was selected as a 'Featured Poet' for the erbacce-prize.
As well as poetry, Jo writes short fiction and travel memoir. Her work has been published by LeftLion, Fortunate Traveller and erbacce-press, as well as in seven anthologies and in a festival guide. Her work has been broadcast on BBC local radio and streamed as part of the Nottingham Poetry Festival. She has read for The Nasiona, led creative writing workshops, and was the first Writer-in-Residence at the Maggie’s Centre in Nottingham. Jo’s debut poetry pamphlet – How not to multitask – will be published by Wild Pressed Books on 11 May 2021.
A My Three Words Gallery Opening Commission
Jo is one of the artists commissioned to make a piece of work based on the My Three Words brief. These examples demonstrate what type of artworks can be exhibited. They encourage anyone who wants to be creative, to make a piece of art based on a location in Goole, and submit it to the online Gallery.
I really like Jo’s theme for her poem and also like the fact that it was inspired by the My Three Words piece of ground that we step across as we walk out of Goole railway station. I like the way the poem begins in Goole and then swings away to another place before the return. Jo’s poem is very much to do with how we feel emotionally about our home town.
I hope the simplicity of this presentation also gives people the incentive to write poetry and prose for the website and that it’s not essential to have visual content created with submissions. It is an example of a poem that relies on the crafting of the words and is not conceived to work with images or video.
Artistic Director, IOU