Up in the AtticA Poem by David Lewis Paget
I took a room in a boarding house
In a seedy part of town,
I hadn’t worked for a month or so
And was feeling rather down,
My girl had left with another guy
Who promised her thrills and rings,
While I could offer her take-away
Among other boring things.
I really felt I was down and out,
The insurance wasn’t through,
I’d caught my arm in a roller, and
You know what that can do.
With plaster up to my elbow, I
Could get no sort of work,
So had to exist on the government,
And I felt like a prime jerk.
I’d always been independent
So my pride had taken a hit,
The landlord hurried me out
As soon as the rent was behind a bit,
The boarding house, it was ancient,
A Victorian red brick,
A mansion once, but converted
Into rooms, for the broke, and sick.
I sank in a deep depression,
I could barely go out the door,
Fish and chips was the staple meal
That I bought from the corner store,
I’d slink back in to my tiny room
And eat from the daily news,
The only things of the world outside
That I learned, were the column views.
I’d thought Denise was my passion,
My charm in a mundane life,
I’d thought she’d always be there for me
And asked her to be my wife,
But that was before the accident,
She’d hummed and hah’d, ‘We’ll see!’
But set her star on the shiny car
Of the guy who came after me.
I lay and thought of her often,
I thought she was most unkind,
And tried to maintain my anger, but
Could not get her out of my mind.
What made it worse, as a sort of curse
Were the sounds from up above,
The guy, up there in the attic,
Laughing, joking and making love!
The girls tripped up in the evening,
Up the stairs, right past my room,
I heard them giggle and whispering
As I lay there, deep in gloom.
I wondered about the attraction,
Was he rich, this guy, or what?
So why was he there in a boarding house
In an attic - what had he got?
The music came through the ceiling,
I could hear them dancing there,
They kept me awake to the early hours
As I slumped in an old armchair,
They’d come in pairs, or one at a time
And they’d leave, but just on dawn,
After I’d heard the bedsprings creak
And a low, but sultry moan!
He and the landlord were thick as thieves
But I never caught sight of him,
I asked him once, ‘Who’s the guy up there?
It sounds like he’s running a gym!’
‘Now don’t you bother your head, my lad,
He’s a friend, and an honoured guest,
He don’t take kindly to strangers, so
Just keep to yourself, it’s best!’
I started leaving an open door
So I’d see the girls who came,
Dressed to kill in their mini-skirts
They all looked much the same,
One evening, one came very late
When I’d thought I’d have some peace,
She stopped by the door and looked at me,
And I blurted out, ‘Denise!’
She caught her breath and she looked at me
Then hurried on up the stair,
Determined she wouldn’t talk to me
As I sat in a mute despair,
I thought at first to follow her
But I slammed the door, said ‘No!
I’m not going to play her silly games,’
But listened from down below.
The music played and I heard her voice,
Her laugh, but soft and sweet,
She certainly had no thought for me
As I slumped there, in defeat.
I heard the bedsprings creak at last
And I knew it was over then,
But she never came down the stairs that night
And I woke, just after ten.
I wanted to turn the light on, but
It seemed to have blown the globe,
I climbed on a chair to change it, and
It flashed, just like a strobe,
Something was dripping along my arm
Sticky, the colour of mud,
I jumped off the chair, and opened the door
To the hallway, it was blood!
I ran up the stairs, two at a time
And I kicked in the attic door,
Denise was naked, such as she was,
She lay, spread out on the floor,
I took out the guy with a single hit
And I looked at the mantelpiece,
For there was a head on a metal spit,
And I cried out, ‘No! - Denise!’
David Lewis Paget
© 2012 David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget
Moonta, South Australia, Australia
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