Ray Miller


I’m at my daughter’s university
in the crime capital of the country,
dressed like Jimmy Cagney
in a brown pin-striped suit
and black trilby hat, sitting
on top of the world.

Vertiginously, I seek her out
amongst the assembled subjects.
I’m in the gods, she’s with the insects
beetling with self-interest,
blazoned epaulettes and edges –
at £45 for afternoon hire
my uneducated guess is.

Shoulders rub, antennae touch,
the curtain slowly struggles up.
Here comes The Sheriff of Nottingham
preceding Michael Parkinson
drawling their way to the podium
to joke of football and cricket.
Wielding a spade which is wholly symbolic,
Parkinson quotes an obscure poet.

We paid £30 each a ticket.
There’s over-representation
of the Chinese population
in the Business and Management section.
A homily of ho- hum names –
someday we’ll all look and sound the same.
A posthumous award dispels the monotony.
Nobody else is wearing a hat like me.

Hands are raised to the sound of shots,
caps rise into the air then drop:
insignia seem to mean a lot.
She’ll be stabled in bright livery
with her Masters in Psychology.
I only ever got the third degree
from the local constabulary.
I wore two-tone and danced to Al Capone.
I’m still living in gangster time.


Ray Miller is a Socialist, Aston Villa supporter and faithful husband. Life’s been a disappointment.