A Square that was never a square

9789_10155016463185650_911914148746768375_nErnie Zobole and the Square.

In the beginning there was no square it was just a tram stop. Later on there was a “zebra crossing” on Partridge Square. There were no zebras. The tips overlooking Ynyscynon and Pontrhondda stood higher than the houses. A street lamp stood in the centre of a square that was never a square. The old tin shed Saint Cynon’s Church on one corner never stood on the corner of the square that was never a square. And some people of the square were strangers to reality too. Old man Christmas, a foundling left at the workhouse door that loomed over the square was given a job, lived and died in the place he’d been found that became a hospital. Hospitable. Poor mad Mansel stood directing traffic until he caused too many accidents and was taken away. “Nancy” boy Lewis 6 foot 6 inches and size 6 shoes. A retired copper of a gay persuasion ran the grocery shop on one corner and wrong changed you with a smile. Jack Fish the betting office next door with its black and white sign for dog biscuits on the pine end wall and opaque windows preventing wives looking in to see their husbands laying bets with the milk money. Prim and proper Owen’s Grocers on the other corner and everything weighed to the exact ounce by the thin hands of Deunwen. And the mock Chinese pagoda bus shelter complete with ladies and gents toilets absent too. A square named after a bird that nobody had ever seen on a square that was never a square. In reality a legendary provocation to the tyranny of perspective.


Rob Cullen





No answer

No answer.


I was awake sitting upright in darkness

Listening to the sound of spitting rain

hitting the skylights darkened pane

from the rhythm of my hearts racing

I knew that something had happened

that feeling in my gut of hopelessness


And I heard you say “Is it Tourette’s

The way you shout in your sleep”

And it was that waking time again

when nightmares and terrors reign

calling me from dreams so deep

It’s a kind of Russian roulette.


The dream felt as if it was real

as if it was really happening

as if I hadn’t been here before.

But it was the same time, same hour

that same real body feeling

sweating, heart beating. Real.


I was shouting out loud again

that noise echoing in my brain.

That noise that crunching sound.

That noise of steel being ground

brought me out of my sleep

Sweating, heart beating. Real.