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In The Age Before Beige by Paul Waring

we spend icebox winters and oven summers 
in plug-ugly bedsits; sip halves in pubs, scrape 
deposits for a semi in well-dressed suburbs,
before the devil curses bathrooms in uncool 
cerise, chocolate and avocado, eggs us to lash 
artex icing-thick onto walls, stone-clad chimney
breasts and screw up stag handlebar antlers.

Kitchens harbour party-purchase Tupperware,
dinner plates pass through hatches, lap-tops 
play host to Vesta beef curry or chow mein,
scoffed sideways on bobbled sofas, glued 
to Z-cars and Corrie on snowy teles, titbits 
snaffled by shagpile carpet, while yuccas 
stand starved in corners.

Light nights we entertain double-glazing reps
on doorsteps, hear bus stop and back fence 
gloats about Costa Brava packages, crazy
paving and extensions. All this before rooms
strip, go minimal and neutral in the nineties –
the age we soon discover, beige is boring.

---

Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist from Wirral, UK. He was awarded second place in the 2019 Yaffle Prize and commended and shortlisted in the 2019 Welshpool Poetry Competition. His poems have been widely published in print journals such as Prole, Strix, Marble Poetry and The Lampeter Review, and on webzines including Ink, Sweat & Tears, Atrium, The High Window and London Grip. His debut pamphlet ‘Quotidian’ is published by Yaffle Press. 

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