II Hollow Top: Uncle Pete Browning
A swelling mass of showman, that’s Charles.
Always swinging, just like me.
They call me “Gladiator”
Because I hit the ball just like it’s a woman.
Wanton and sideways, with a smack.
Every family with river silt
in their blood knows my name.
And Charles, he’s cut
not for singing
in the Christ Church Cathedral,
but below it,
with the worms and shadows.
He’s more gambling boat
and race track than stiff, waxy pew.
More acid, wet cunt than petticoat.
More dirt-lipped Gypsy than acolyte.
Just like me.
He sings for pennies in our backyard
and performs for a Sideshow Queen
Who lives near the river,
in an encampment where the Gypsies bark.
he turned a penny into a dime at the races,
and with it bartered his way below.