It was one of those Victorian townhouses
that a slum landlord (and Tory councillor)
had bought and converted into fourteen bedsits
with the cunning use of plasterboard and Yale locks.
The room was furnished with a single bed, table
and sink. The meters were rigged by the landlord.
A lukewarm bath cost three quid in the gas meter
on my first night there. I bathed cold after that,
not wanting to spend long in a bathroom shared
by eight people. When I first moved in my
girlfriend told me it was cosy. We both knew she
meant it wasn’t sterilized, institutional. According
to her mother I was a bad influence, and on the face
of it, I’d have to agree. A month later, she moved out
of the respectable two-up two-down to move in with
me and my colourful neighbours after a row with
her housemate, came in one evening with a suitcase
and a face red from crying. Of course, I welcomed her
and the electric kettle she bought with her, but we both
knew that the two of us, in that room, wouldn’t work out.
Ashley Fisher was born in South Cumbria, England and currently lives
in Hull. He is a poet who performs his work around the UK and co-edits
the poetry magazine Turbulence. He also runs a monthly poetry night
called Fresh Ink.