Park Bench Tales and other writings

Thoughts and writings reflecting the poet within and the activist

Leave a comment

2. The Room

2. The Room

In her room Kyrystyna sits gazing at her phone

Red lipstick upon her lips to amplify the pout

Looks up occasionally at paint flaking off the door

She awaits the message to reassure she is not alone

Maybe a call from her friend to draw her desires out

An escape from the drudgery of the department store

Her discarded clothes lie unwashed upon the bed

Believing that only his message can bring happiness

On the wall a picture of Depeche Mode once hung

Can she enjoy the silence that the space screams instead

She stares at the wall in her state of undress

There’s a coffee stain beneath from a cup she flung

The broken casement window looks out to the street

Seeking solace in the decoration of her nails

She will wear her new crop top in order to impress

A message arrives to say he counts the hours until they meet

The lights dim then go out as a distant siren wails

Even in darkness she cannot seek sleep to escape her loneliness

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022

Leave a comment

Metal fender love

Metal fender love

Brightly polished metal paint standing on the lot

Her open top admired by passersby in their ogling shop

Retro-romantic purring with attraction

Thoughts stirred within wanting to turn on her ignition

Waiting to be unleashed beneath the hood a mighty beast

Her mind thinking of those nipples surely fully greased

Six seductive cylinders almost within her reach

Listening to the salesman who had learned to preach

How she loved to admire her chassis

She’d take the Interstate from here to Tallahassee

Knowing it would hold firm as it glided along the highway

Keep your Tesla sunshine she was going to do this her way

Chrome plated attraction from the world of yesteryear

Stick shift for her hand she despised the auto-gear

Two tone elegance and wings protruding from the rear

This was mechanical seduction and she had no fear

Her twin headlights attracting with their glow

Switched on she knew that they could steal the show

Leather upon the seats where she could slide

So cool upon the thighs as she thought of the ride

She took the keys of pleasure living out life today

She pressed the pedal to the metal and she was away

She scorched black rubber along the boulevard

Grasped the leather knob and pulled back hard

Tearing up the miles until she ran out of juice

Two hundred horses seeking freedom were let loose

Some girls love abs and biceps but she knew her desire

Only the pounding of six pistons could light her fire

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022

Leave a comment

Before the Moment 1

Before The Moment 1

Another screaming session

An assault of the head

Wishing the ending that I really dread


More screaming

So I fled

There were pictures forming in my mind

All blood red

A ghostly form sitting at his desk

Vanishes before I can divest

My thoughts

I do not see his face

But his voice remains

To haunt and perchance to taunt

Should I flaunt

Will that bring him to life for me?

Now I find myself alone

Wandering a street that has no home

I want to run to escape

A new beginning that can be anywhere

The future that I want will not take shape

I wonder

Has that moment passed and is it too late

Why is everything going wrong

My one possession

The old red Pontiac

That is all that I can call a home

I used to sleep on the back seat

Find a tap to rinse out my clothes

Then let them dry in the sun shining on the hood

Keep on taking the pills

That is what they said

They stop you wishing you were dead

Never give up

I tried to keep up with my studies

After a bad night

I would hide under a desk

Trying to catch up on my sleep

What the hell is destiny anyway?

I tried to write


Of memories

That my grandmother had told me

That was when I met him

Sharing with him my first poem

I could feel my life might be changing

Perhaps this is destiny but why?

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022

Leave a comment

Moment 2: Scoot Over

Moment 2: Scoot Over

I think my life is changing

Because we are together now

Well almost

We are under the same roof

Now we are sharing a bedroom

Of course

That was my idea

I think that we both wanted more

When we thought of what had gone before

He may have hesitated

I was sure


There is something still between us

A feeling there should be a boundary

Like a line drawn in the sand

Which I knew that I had to cross

So when he returned from work

Snuggling down beneath the blankets

I would climb onto the bed

In hope more than expectation

Would whisper the words

“Scoot over “

Then slide beneath the blanket beside him

He was tired

I used to be afraid he would fall asleep

Cuddling beside him

Pressing his body close to mine

Wrapping a leg around him

Surely he must recognize the sign

I knew my feeling

He was mine

If he’d ask me I know what I would say

I’d smile at him and reply “Of course you may”

But he didn’t and I wondered perhaps he was gay

I shivered

Perhaps he just wanted me to go away

Strange how we cuddled together every night

A touching of bodies that I felt was right

Yet knowing that he never responded with delight

I could not spend the night within his bed

For I always felt something might be amiss

This was never my imagined bliss

Had I invested my life in that solitary kiss

But still each time he undressed when he came home

I would climb up and say “Scoot over”

Because I did not want to be alone

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022




I wonder why I took so long

Why did I wait for him when I could have led

Why did I wish and dream

That there was a place for me in his bed

An evening of idle chat that meant so much more

We were both conscious of what we desired

Or was that just my wish and not his

I know my heart seemed to burn with his fire

I remember the evening

We agreed to go for a walk in the park

As if I could finally pluck up the courage

To make the first move in the dark

My pulse was racing

I knew there was an opportunity I should not miss

Was I really luring him

Onto that bench to share our first kiss

How strange after all that time

I had imagined the moment every day

Each time there had been a different response

I would not have wanted this any other way

Could he really be mine

In that moment I really believed

As my tongue pushed through his lips

My heart was surely not deceived

His arms brought me close

I liked that he was holding me tight

Thoughts rushed into my mind

My head was feeling light

I wondered and wished

Just how far we could go

But the moonlight was revealing

I sensed his answer would be ‘no’

So we sat on the bench

We made that fist kiss last

An opportunity taken

Or had the moment passed

I tugged at his arm

What if I was to ask and suggest

That we might go further

I’m sure he would show an interest

I know that we have started

That kiss lasted ten minutes at a guess

Do we want this relationship

I think his answer might be ‘yes’

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022


A Wasted Life

A wasted life

She stood before the blazing fire where the corn king burned

Lay prostrate upon the earth when the ashes had cooled

Wishing her life would yield the temptation she yearned

Oft had she been the tempter and oft had she been fooled

Now she rose and stood before the windswept dunes

Listening to waves crashing from the angry sea

Last night she had lain upon her bed and cast the runes

Stared from her casement window at the rowan tree

Black the colour she had chosen for her body mask

Her soul sold long ago to the devil underground

The Prosecco glass now discarded for the methylated flask

The flash of the incoming storm she must be homeward bound

From the boiling cauldron rose the thunder god

Discarded the syringe was soon covered by the moving sand

The earth opened and fire spat out from the broken sod

She looked in vain for the guidance of a helping hand

Age had reduced the value of the services that were her trade

In alleyways nobody had heard the desperation in her cry

Her body scarred from customers who were to be obeyed

In the loneliness of her rented room she would be left to die

Where was the molfar’s love that she once craved

Attracted by bright lights she was drawn to a Satanic spell

Believing that by the claw that held her she would be saved

Now there was no peace in the solitude of her living hell

They laid her to rest in an unmarked grave

Younger bodies now held the men she had once known

Just as her flashing thighs once worked to enslave

Her life now over she had never known a home

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022


On the edge: Both sides now

On the edge: Both sides now

That day as she sealed her marriage she was filled with pride

Her flowing white dress hid pregnancy but she did not care

With flowers in her hair she smiled as she became the blushing bride

A village danced the night away with music on the cobbled square

They celebrated once more on the day that Yuliia was born

The priest held her by the font wrapped in babusia’s shawl

A new chapter in their lives heralded by a golden dawn

Happiness grew with each day as Yuliia learned to crawl

Then gathering clouds brought a darkness to their lives

A call to arms as the tanks began to roll across the plain

Anton and the others now kissed goodbye to tearful wives

Shells burst upon the houses as the enemy took aim

Fearful for her daughter she gathered some clothes and fled

Across the marsh at dead of night through the enemy line

Hours at the border but she believed safety lay ahead

In a shared room through frosted window came sunshine

She found work in a meat packaging factory at night

Some days they strolled in a garden near their home

Today she watched a young child flying a dragon kite

Yuliia had wandered up to an old man sitting all alone

A friendship that slowly grew as each week passed

Until one day she received news that Anton had been slain

A war widow dreading the question that might be asked

How could she tell a stranger when love was mixed with shame

Anton had not marched to the flag that now was glorified

His conscription was not of his choice

The stench of corruption deified purified and justified

A moral vacuum where truth seemed to have no voice

The widow and the old man took the secret to their graves

Yuliia spared the prejudice that might have sealed a different fate

She grew to find happiness and a new life beyond the waves

Saved from judgement by those with the vitriol of patriotic hate

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022

I have often wondered when women and children seek shelter and safety how the reaction might differ if they discovered a mother and child who had come from what is seen as the ‘wrong side’?


Changing Scenes

Changing scenes

The familiar message ping

The face popped up on her iphone

Missing you


An emoji aubergine came next

Miss U2

She responded with a series of hearts

Another ping

U free tonight

She wanted to respond

Before her lay the pile of envelopes

Paper yellowed over the years

She had taken them from the dust-covered box

That she had recovered from the loft

Cleaning out after her grandmother had passed on

They were held together by yellow ribbon

Tied by a classic flower bow

She remembered her grandmother teaching her

She was eight years old

Flower bows Dior bows and Mum’s bow

At New Year her presents always came with ribbons


You were hot in that last clip

Send me more of those


Tongue hanging out


She was feeling irritated

Now she looked and felt her curiosity rising

She wanted to untie the bow and open the envelopes

She wondered

Who were the letters from

What did they say

She could see the stamp on the first envelope

A commemorative from a coronation

The letter had been posted from overseas

Should they be opened

Was she intruding upon a privacy now passed

The more she thought

The more she seemed unsure


You still there

She responded hastily with a flower

That would buy her a little time

The letters were a part of her history

That was important

She managed to slide the ribbon from the envelopes

Keeping the bow intact

Lifting the flap of the first envelope

She carefully withdrew the sheets

At first it was the script that fascinated her

Old-fashioned ink

A Royal blue colour

She wondered

Had the script been crafted with a fountain pen

Perhaps even with a quill and nib

That would have been really romantic


I can get another girl

His temper was starting to show

She had met this before

He would buy presents afterwards

My Dearest Lilia

Shy paused

To her she had always been Granny Lil

He was missing her

She glanced at the date

The lines were poetic

She marvelled at his command of her language

Blushed a little at his outpourings

He apologized for not phoning

There were few lines available after the war

He knew she could not afford to phone him

Carefully she replaced the sheets


F**k you then

She was struggling now

A single heart

Maybe he would soften


How about an answer

She opened another

Then another

A love affair was being played out for her

Even though she could only read one side

The other seemed to emerge and take form

As she read lines so carefully composed



Was he about to dump her

There was just a hint of panic

Her reply

A tulip

Then quickly

She unsent her message

Something did not feel right

Now the war was over

The paper had changed to a pale blue

He wrote of her poems to him

How she wished she had her letters as well

Why had he not kept them?


Whats that mean


You f**king with me



Screw you

Hearts would awaken to caresses and kisses

Rainbows would greet each morning

Her face framed within

Solitude burned away as a morning mist

Vanishes with the rising of the sun

As her letters arrived

Her eyes sparkling like the twinkling of the stars

Upon a moonless night

He thanked her for the photograph


I sorry


Really miss you


Want you

She drank in the contents of each page

As if the love expressed was now filling her body

Awakening her heart

Giving her life a feeling that was new

Breathing love and wonder into her body

Those TikTok short clips she sent in the early hours

When her parents were sleeping

Were they a tease or some inner desire

She had ached for pleasure at that moment

Though her memories also held the pain


As she lay on her back

Until his pounding finished

Then he would vanish into the kitchen

To get another drink

As she stared at the ceiling

The bruising lasted longer

She went home early

Determined not to stay until the dawn

Did he have some hold


When she held her phone between her legs

She had been stupid

Now she must escape


She switched off her phone

For the first time she felt she was free

In the silence of her room

She found some sheets and a ballpoint pen

Sitting on the edge of her bed

She remembered him

The months had passed

But would he still remember her

She had left him hastily

Seduced by her romance with a late night phone

Now she felt what it was like


She began to write

‘Dear ……. ‘

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022


The Fish

The Fish

The wind had been harsh

Whistling up the valley to be trapped in the gorge

She had felt the chill cutting through her clothes

Wishing she could have planned for the coming winter

Now the sun was rising and filling the valley with warmth

She remembered this spot

She stood by the stream staring

Cool clear water that bubbled over the stones

Showing up the colours of these sunken pebbles

She looked carefully at the bed

The fish caught her eye

Seemingly able to stay still

Holding a place against the current

As if determined and resolved

She stared and took in the form

As she stared the surface of the water became a mirror

At first she saw only her own reflection

Her long hair

But there was something that was not right

She was wearing her crop top and a short skirt

The face was hers

But she was wearing a coat

The hood almost covering her face

Time ticking backwards

As if some trick might herald destiny

She look and became fixated

Now she could see the fish and her face

There was something else

A shadow that appeared to envelop both

Was that his face

He had been there when the wind had funnelled

And they had taken pictures by the gorge

Why had he reappeared

He looked older now

Had the winter taken a toll

Would he be the same

She wished

But would that make any difference now

The time had passed

If only she could know

What was he thinking now

Where was he

Why could she not turn back time

Perhaps she could

She turned quickly

But there was nobody there

She looked back at the stream

The fish was gone

Only her reflection remained

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022




They are animals

Had she blurted the words out without thinking

Mouths gaped open

A silence spread around the table

Fork poised in mid-air

Where had this come from

Why now


What should be the response

Her workplace colleagues were Asian

Or Brown as she preferred to call them

Animals she repeated

Making some primitive sounds

As if to place an emphasis on her point

She was proud

That she was pure white

Whatever that might really mean

She outlined the ancestry

All white

No impurities

Her friend

Was from a pure family

That had their own special crest

They were pure white as well

Next day a different outburst came forth

They were drug addicts

Two white folk had appeared on the shift

She seemed to find fault with everyone

Although she had not actually spoken

The evidence appeared hearsay

She would not talk to them

They were on drugs

Everybody knew

Including her or so it seemed

Apparently she did not like gay people

She could list countries

Where gay people were not tolerated

Although to him this seemed confusing

Since the same countries

Were usually those of different race

Not the pure white she idolised

How did you explain

He had lived with two lads

Now married to each other

Celebrated the marriage of two girls

To each other

How had these paths crossed

His and hers

They were horrible

Old women with tattoos

Another silence around the table

I’m not working there

A day was apparently enough

To make a full assessment

The verdict was delivered

A few days later she ran off

There was no surprise

When she wrote

The area she chose was all white

I wondered why

She had hidden

The neo-Nazi band

That she should have worn

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022