Poem ‘Hitch’


A throbbing disco bass
callously pounding my chest,
turning symptoms of flu
into something feeling serious.
I’d dragged myself there
against good advice,
that trashy little down in Drab County
whose only claim to fame
was its fine timber spire,
which made historians
and architects alike, drool;
the sort of town which made
the English feel proud of their past,
even if the present bore no hope,
no prospect of colour. A future

And pride! What was I doing
knocking back gin like tomorrow
did not exist?
Barely able to stand—
but still lord of the dance!
But it was you who held the cards,
the full deck.
You knew what you wanted
and how to get it.
I was the hopeless case,
a clueless pawn in your set up
with worldly guys from the Smoke
who were waiting by the door,
(forever waiting by that door!)
deriding us country boys—

country boy
knew enough about language
of the body, its gestures.
The cold morning brought eerie clarity,
despite pain in my head
to match the dagger in the heart. Oh—
you could keep your magnanimous lift.
I was hitching back.
The full seventeen miles,
even if only the bravest of drivers
would dare stop to pick up
this jerk
in the sick stained jeans

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012



  1. claudia · April 21, 2012

    very cool and raw poem david..love the..Barely able to stand—
    but still lord of the dance!… and then…think it was the right decision..and still suffering a bit from the flu…i can feel this even more..


  2. Ina · April 21, 2012

    Oww poor you! I think you had better stayed in bed?
    The Smoke sounds like the sort of place I remember from that era lol 🙂


  3. dfb · April 21, 2012

    Hi Ina, thank you very much! The smoke is certainly how everywhere was then, wasn’t it. ‘The Smoke’, in this case, is a nick name for London.


  4. dfb · April 21, 2012

    Thank you very much Claudia! Hope you’re soon better – I’ve got a bad head this morning…! 🙂


  5. Ina · April 21, 2012

    🙂 LOL it would make a good name for a café 🙂 in those days 🙂 I love the poem 🙂 and now I understand it better I think, the country boy in the big city!


  6. davidlandgrebe · April 21, 2012

    Nice work David, we Aussies call our city’s “The big smoke” it looks like us english convicts got the expression from the english!. 🙂
    David. L


  7. journeyintopoetry · April 21, 2012

    Oh this is just wonderful David!

    What a vivid image! Yuk!! I can even smell the sick! 🙂



  8. dfb · April 21, 2012

    Ah, thank you so much David! And yes, as you know, we English are to blame… for everything! 😉


  9. dfb · April 21, 2012

    Thank you Christine! Thankfully, this is only partly based on fact but I too can still smell it!


  10. dfb · April 21, 2012

    It is a good name, isn’t it? Thanks Ina – I’ll remember that, when we open it next year we’ll invite you over. Do you like cakes? 🙂


  11. deelaytful · April 21, 2012

    Great poem. Very relatable — the whole club scene, drinking and dancing through smoke. Good job! 🙂


  12. Russell Smith · April 21, 2012

    I’ve been there- Drab County and drunk as a skunk!


  13. Cynthia Ann Katon-Alfonso · April 21, 2012

    I hope you’ll feel better soon David! Nice poetry even if you’re not well. 🙂


  14. My friend i received a nomination for the “One Lovely Blog Award”, am in turn nominating you! Nothing to do just accept! You can share with someother authors whom you really like. Your poems and their images are very uplifting to myself and countless others. Some bad days your poems lift my spirits, and on good days they shine like a radiant Sun! I love your gifts, your blog and what i have learned from your heart and sprit! Congatulations!


  15. dfb · April 21, 2012

    Thank you very much!


  16. dfb · April 21, 2012

    Thank you very much Russell!


  17. dfb · April 21, 2012

    Thank you very much Wendell, I appreciate it very much! 🙂


  18. magsx2 · April 21, 2012

    A great poem, and I am sure not too many would of even thought about giving this person a lift. 🙂 Sounds like a wild night.


  19. Louise Jaques · April 22, 2012

    I’ve had plenty of cold mornings bringing eerie clarity, but never has it been so beautifully expressed as this one! Thank you David for this wonderful piece.


  20. lscotthoughts · April 22, 2012

    Wonderful, David, and “sick stained jeans” is so vivid, maybe not so pleasant (the image and smell) :), but great writing!


  21. Three Well Beings · April 22, 2012

    Once again you reference the changes in England as you remember it…and with the disappointment in the way it is changing. You’ve definitely heightened my awareness. This poem speaks of it, too, with the description of the “Drab County.” I felt like this was a movie scene…so vivid! Debra


  22. dfb · April 22, 2012

    Thank you very much, I appreciate it!


  23. dfb · April 22, 2012

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting on it, Lauren.


  24. dfb · April 22, 2012

    Thank you Louise, I do appreciate it.


  25. dfb · April 22, 2012

    Thank you so much! 🙂


  26. Eve Redwater · April 22, 2012

    “What was I doing
    knocking back gin like tomorrow
    did not exist?
    Barely able to stand—
    but still lord of the dance!” – Hehe, this really made me smile David! Love it! 😀


  27. dfb · April 22, 2012

    Thank you very much Eve!
    Gross behaviour, isn’t it? The sort of thing my son does now in Hull…. I’m afraid.
    Which reminds me, he was in Sheffield last weekend playing for Hull Uni in the Ice Hockey nationals, they got to the semis. They stayed up all night drinking in various Steel City locations, then somehow played more games on Sunday. Ah, well, that’s rock ‘n’ roll, I suppose. 😉 All the best!


  28. Linda Redwine · April 22, 2012

    Very nice poem, thanks for sharing!


  29. Betty Hayes Albright · April 23, 2012

    Well-crafted, vivid poem, David. Couldn’t help but smile. 🙂


  30. dfb · April 23, 2012

    Thank you very much Betty!


  31. Eve Redwater · April 24, 2012

    Your son does Ice Hockey? That’s cool. 🙂 I’ve never even learned to skate… to my shame!


  32. dfb · April 24, 2012

    Hi! Yes, he is a ‘sporty’ type and made up his mind to get everything out of university, which is fair enough. He’s thinking of joining a Peterborough Ice Hockey team when he gets back in the summer, although that may depend on what he’s doing, job wise etc… 🙂 Take care.


  33. New View From Here · April 24, 2012

    Thank goodness the country boy is so fluent in reading “body language”! Reminds me of a once popular song here in the states: “A country boy can survive.” 🙂 And here we see a sick, drunk, barely-able-to-walk country boy doing just that!


  34. bardessdmdenton · April 24, 2012

    Why we do the things we do! A hot toddy and warm bed would’ve been better. As always, I love this narrative style of yours, with bite and humor!


  35. dfb · April 25, 2012

    Once again, I thank you so much! 🙂


  36. dfb · April 25, 2012

    Thank you so much once again – you are so kind! 🙂


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