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‘The Same Again’

The pub is lazy wallpaper,
psychedelic carpet,
the same as yesterday.

I sink to the bar, forget
what to order
while the Friday night
dehydrated potted plants
wait with sucked teeth,

and I want nothing more
than to eat all the crisps
or marinate
in a warm pint of ale
and lick my failed ambition
in the most English way I know.

And I want sloppy kisses
while running in zig zags
to the bus stop, smell
of beer matts, tears in toilets,
a doner kebab –or two.

There is hate at work,
there is uneaten pizza
in my sheets, there is
a serving of regret,
with my fry up;

but still the pub is waving,
rocking like a cradle.

Single or double?
I open my mouth
and lie belly up
on polished bar;
the staff pour another in
and I walk with pins
in the backs of my knees,

with an unamused audience,
with diluted eyes and hands
that ask for obligatory friendship
hiding razors in my palms.

I will take the fire exit,
say goodbye to no one,
hoping someone
will ask where I went
and in reply will worry
over my bare shoulders
on unwatched streets.

And in the morning,
I will help an old lady
with her shopping bag,
and smile at crying babies
on the crowded Tube.

Until it’s time to feel
the tongue of booze
lick my stinging wounds,

then I’ll grind my teeth
to dust and slow dance naked
with the wall.

‘The Same Again’ was written as part of the Fair Field Poet in Residence role, run in partnership between the Poetry School and Penned in the Margins. Sophie Fenella wrote & recorded this poem about binge drinking for broadcast on the Guardian Books Podcast ‘Fair Field: Piers Plowman’s Truth’.

Fair Field is a site-specific re-imagining of the medieval epic poem Piers Plowman, taking place in Ledbury & London this June & July. For more information, blogs from Sophie & tickets visit

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Image Credits:

Neil Moralee