The Caged Type

A home for Craig Thomas Boyle's writing and life.

Category: Poetry

Tyneside Poem

This is a love story

Not of a face, but a place

A feeling, an echo, a collection of space

It’s filled by all sorts of bodies,

That move in their own ways

Whether that’s students partying,

Or people drinking away days.

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Paul’s Fall (Poetry)


I’m not much of a toilet brawler

Don’t like a taxi rank skirmish

I do like a drink

But I don’t get churlish

Don’t like aggro

Prefer to walk away from it all

Because nobody wants to end up like Paul.


Not me

Not you

Not what Paul’s been through

Knocked clean out

In a dirty nightclub loo


Sound funny?

It isn’t.

Paul’s head hit the cistern.

Coma for weeks

If only his friends had of listened

If they’d left it where it started

Way back at the bar

If they’d walked away and laughed

Joking about it from afar


But Paul’s mates liked a rumble

When the drink was inside

Everyone’s Mike Tyson

When the night comes alive

Spilled drinks

Crossed words

Things mistakenly overhead

Eye contact

The contest

Who backs down first?

Was never Paul’s mates

All alive with the thirst


Paul wasn’t like that.

A considerate young lad

Didn’t see the point in it

People acting mad

He was there for a laugh

Not for a scrap

Only fight he’d had

At 5 his sister gave him a slap

But boys will be boys

And mates are your group

So Paul was stood there

When it got thrown out of loop

When the testosterone boiled

And the aggravation bubbled

And suddenly

There it was

A whole lot of trouble


Bystander calmed it

Just a spilled drink they’d said

But Paul’s mates kept on shouting

And their opponents turned their heads

Walking away

For now, at least.

And Paul felt relief

As he slid into a seat


Two drinks later

A bit of dancing

Bit of flirting

And Paul’s last worry

Was of any more trouble occurring


Into the toilet

To empty the bladder

As he unzipped

He heard the chatter

The lads from before

Not his friends, but the foes

Planning an attack

When the club came to close


Paul should have stayed quiet

But peacemaker kicked in

Lads came out the toilet

The story gets grim

Quick recognition

A grin of realisation

Four versus one

In toilet isolation


Paul, innocent paul,

No idea of the trouble he was in

Kept talking them down

Should be saving his skin


The punch came from nowhere

Broke his jaw with the force

But Paul didn’t feel anything

Just the darkness of the fall

Head, the back of, colliding with ceramic

Paul’s consciousness, leaving the planet


Paul’s mother and father

Getting the call

Tears and terror

All because of a bathroom stall

The tendrils of influence

Stretched out that night

Lives changed forever

Because of meaningless fights


The guy who punched Paul

A promising grad

Lost control that night

And lost everything he had

Five years in jail

Guilt every day

All just because

Couldn’t keep anger at bay


And Paul’s friends got worse

Didn’t learn their lesson

Righting your wrongs

Beyond their comprehension

Even angrier nowadays

Don’t cross them on a night

But all of them cried

When they saw Paul after the fight


His head cracked open

Blood on the floor

Moaning aloud

But not here anymore

Eyes glazed over

Memory deleted

Verbal communication

Broken and fleeting

Confined to a wheelchair

A husk of what was

And all for nothing

A drunken encounter, just because


Just because some men

Justify their lives by their actions

And don’t feel like real men

If they’re not fighting or attracting

Females for fucking

Men to be battled

And bystanders like Paul

Just doe-eyed cattle


Paul’s story has a bright side

He’s not even real

But the stuff I’ve seen in my life

Tarnishes the grand reveal

Because what happened to Paul

I’ve seen more than once

I’ve watched punches thrown

Without slight remorse

All over nothing

Just beers and masculinity

Uncaring for reality

Human fragility


Let’s hope you’re not like Paul

And you’re aware of danger

Keep an eye out, for the anger of strangers

Distance yourself

When fists start to fly

Or it’ll be your mother

Who’ll weep, when she hears that you’ve died.


Last but not least,

Don’t keep the company of beasts.

Make sure your friends

Don’t have anger to unleash.

Enjoy your drinks

But beware of past midnight.

One punch can end it

Stay away from the fights.

The Stranger

A stranger came from a forgotten land

He wore golden hair, carried gold in hand.

With a sweet and lashing tongue that spoke aloud

The stranger he stood there tall and proud.


The stranger he tells us right from wrong

He masks untruth with his golden song.

And the stranger he carries gold in hand

Promises it freely to each and every man.


The stranger he removes the weak from the strong

Protects us from those who mean us wrong

Cut them off from the sea, off from the shore!

The stranger he guards us more and more.


And then the gold pours, thick like blood.

The stranger he slowly removes his hood.

We see his horns and we see his claws,

But it matters not, because he aids our cause.


The river runs deep, red and dark.

The stranger’s teeth, sharp like a shark.

He consumed them all, and we were glad.

But his eyes turn on us, hungry and mad.


The stranger he feasts on the fervor we fed him,

The lies and the fear and the hate that we let in.

Once he’s done with the others, none left to challenge his rule,

His jaws close on his loyal followers, the blind land of fools.

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