by Hannah Lowe


I was playing with fire – Bet Lowe


He phoned me up, a party, would I go?

My mum said Joe who’s Joe, a darkie, no!

Not on your nelly, lady, no you won’t you –


Peach lipstick, lacquered beehive, Tweed Mist perfume.

I took the bus and ‘course there was no party,

just a room with whiskey glasses on the bedside


and fag ash on the tangled sheets at dawn.

Oh Joe could play an ace – The Akee Blues

and Cherokee dah da-da deeee dee!


He put his sax in hock to pay the rent,

said Betty can you help me, had a pound

off me on Sunday nights, he had it bad,


he’d not been with another girl in weeks

he said, and no, my mother didn’t sleep

a wink, she sobbed into her mixing bowl!


Then off to Auntie Connie’s caravan,

he wore his suit and wingtips on the dunes,

he said he loved me in the spinning teacups


then vanished in the night. He knew a tune

that bastard arsehole drunk –You’ll Never Know

and Cherokee , dah da-da deeee dee!


And no, I couldn’t bring him home for Christmas,

Not over my dead body, lady, no!

He came with flick-knife smile and lilac bath cubes


and oh she sobbed into her mixing bowl!

My father walked him to the tube, came home

and stank of whiskey, said, he’s just like any

other fella, ain't he, Betty, ain’t he?