Ben Maier

Raby Street

Ben Maier

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Ghosts play kick-about beyond those houses.
A row, then a row, another row,
and then the pitch. Their whistle, above all,
is different.

The man who lives opposite is a strip-o-gram.
He eats alone. That or an actual air-steward.
I watch people leaving I never saw arrive,
people arriving who never seem to leave.

The Frenchman works in a bagel shop.
Cucumber, ham hock, Monterey Jack.
A CCTV camera watches all this
but because of cuts

each day on the tape wipes
over the last. That’s
not true. But how many times
do you need to walk a dog

round the block,
if the dog’s legs are so long,
the distance so.
Once. Emphatically. Once.
I’ve learnt something about the air-steward.
He always blesses himself
after the seat-belt signs
are switched off

and surely that’s far too late. But maybe
what he’s grateful for is neither here
nor there. Has nothing—absolutely nothing—to do
with the Frenchman, the flight.


Ben Maier


Ben Maier is a writer and performer currently based in London. He is in the final stages of a PhD on radio poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Belfast. Recent poems have been published in Irish Pages and The Salt Book of Younger Poets. His one-man show ‘An Imaginary Circus’ was praised as “impossible to categorise ... an energetic and vital tour de force” (Culture NI, Edinburgh Guide).