Elegy for The Tumbledown Dick

It burnt down twenty years ago.
Landlord’s stealing ran it down.
New management couldn’t fix
a sticky-carpet sea of broken glass
each night. Nor dare to clean the toilets.

Dealers’ trade kept high in cisterns.
Punters slashed in the car park.
Pool hall at the back. Pound coins
on peeling veneer. Greasy hands
and laddered tights. Come on love.

You know you want to. Kitchen floor
had greying dog shits in the middle.
Freezer pulled out and hockey puck
burgers dusted off before they’d ever
fry a new one. Upstairs, ten bedrooms.

Lonely men lived on curries. Brought
back up in bins. One pissed the bed
after a lock-in. The sodden mess
of mattress stood in the linen room.
Marinating in August heat. Then back

on the bed. Good as new they said.
Twenty years later it’s a drive-through.
Car park’s still for teenage fucking.
Greasy chips and flaccid burgers.
Seems nothing really changes.



Sarah Terkaoui is of dual Middle East/Irish heritage. She has been commended in the Hippocrates Poetry Prize 2021 and longlisted for the Live Canon international poetry Prize 2021. Her work appears in both anthologies and in Green Ink Poetry, Dreich and Wee Dreich. Most recently she appeared as part of the Live Canon Lunchtime series and the Poets for the Ukraine Poem-a-thon fundraiser. She is currently studying for an MA in Writing Poetry (Newcastle University/ Poetry School London) and working on her first collection.