Having no place to go,
unwilling or unable to wait,
they did it in the street
behind the pictures,
an arched back and an exit door
separating fiction and reality.
11 November 1986
I should clarify something first for the sake of my non-British readers: “the pictures” is a slang expression for the cinema just as “the shows” is slang for the fairground.
The poem is a record of an actual happening. It took place in Kilmarnock. On Fowlds Street to be precise, behind the old ABC cinema. Thank you Google Earth. I wonder what was showing. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge is a good bet. That and probably Basil, the Great Mouse Detective. I think there were only the two screens back then. I know I wasn’t there to see a film—I’ve seen neither of these for starters—but the point was I was on Fowlds Street while the films were still showing; it’s important that. Presumably I’d parked there. Fowlds Street is a quiet back street just a block away from the town centre which would’ve been all closed at that time at night bar pubs, eateries and fast food restaurants. Kilmarnock, however, was miles away from where I was living so I really can’t think why I was there and on my own. It’s not a place I’d head to to meet anyone and I actually can’t ever remember going for a meal or a drink there. Very strange. What was stranger was watching a couple have sex out in the open behind the pictures. They were doing it just about where the Biffa bin is in the photo and, of course, it was pitch dark. I stood and watched for a few seconds—too far away for them to notice—and then left them to it hoping for their sake they’d finish their business before the back exit was flung open and a good number of the audience spilled out and caught them at it.
I probably drafted the poem then and there, maybe in the car before I drove off.