A Poem: Patti’s Still Got It by Matthew J. Hall

the water under pero’s bridge
was still, as was the city
during its best hour on a sunday morning

she was playing a tin whistle
you couldn’t get away with calling it music
but the sounds were far from unpleasant

from my side of the river
I could see the market traders
setting up their fare, on their side

the crisp air tasted fresh
as it will when so few of us
are sucking it in and blowing it out

soon enough the crowds would arrive
and the air would become heavy
and the tongue would become numbed
by a mouthful of death

from my bench, a metal affair
cold and reassuring
I could see she’d been eyeing up my cigarette

she slid the whistle into her breast pocket
stood and walked with purpose

can I have a cigarette, she said
sure, I said, offering her the pouch and papers
can you roll it for me, she said
sure, I said
can you roll me five, she said
sure, I said and took to rolling

she retrieved her whistle and played
covering and uncovering the holes with her fingers
watching me roll with her eyes

her hair was the colour of wet straw
she was pale and very thin
but she carried a heavy weight
like someone who’s held the truth about people

at the fifth cigarette’s completion
she showed me the soft side of her hand
I lined them up on there
and she counted them out loud


instead of thanking me, she said
I saw patti smith in concert
oh yeah? I said, has she still got it?

she tucked her whistle and cigarettes away
put her hand all the way down the front of her jeans
held herself like that
gyrated and confirmed
patti’s still got it

with that said
she returned to her original position
on pero’s bridge
where she played her whistle

across the harbour
the market traders were chatting up
their first customers
I could hear a siren from somewhere distant

I stood from my bench
waved a quiet goodbye to the whistler
she lit one of her five cigarettes
and waved back


Patti’s Still Got It is in The Human Condition is a Terminal Illness,  Matthew J. Hall’s first full collection of poetry and is now available from Bareback Press, AmazonUk and AmazonUS.



Matthew J. Hall

Matthew J. Hall

An avid reader, writer and reviewer of poetry and short fiction. Author of Blood Pudding Press 2015 chapbook contest winner, Pigeons and Peace Doves and The Human Condition is a Terminal Illness will soon be available through Bareback Press (2017).
Matthew J. Hall
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