You Could Do So Much Better


Tell us a secret? The girls demanded,

working in a floating point pincer movement

that corralled me into a corner by the Dining Hall wall.

Tell us all your secrets, they said

wafting a haze of Apple-blossom truth serum

they had squirted on their necks and wrists.

I read Science Fiction: Stuff about different dimensions,

where crazy things happen.

In the future we’ll have phones without wires, transmitting thoughts through the air.

We’ll have implants so we can understand all the languages of this earth

(so we won’t have to learn French).

We’ll have music made of ones and zeroes.

We will have the ability to travel through time and space, beyond our solar system.

Anything else?

I code mainframe computers in my spare time.

Boring, they said.

Who do you fancy? Who’s in your top three?

Don’t be shy.

You say them, We’ll write them down.

Kick off with Jackie, aye? That’s a no-brainer. She’s on everybody’s list.

The Queen of the Hockey team, Netball to.

Betchya she could beat half the boys in a race.

In the safety of the whirring, heavily-fanned computer suite,

which smelt of dry dust,

My tongue-tied self, toiled away in front of luminous green-lit VDUs with handfuls of floppy disks,



there will be machines that move faster –

but a better curvature than Jackie’s legs – in this world, I doubt it.


Mini skirt, sexy earlobes, socks around her ankles,

burgundy jumper, yellow blouse,

short hair, boundless  energy.

Jackie ran up at me faster than any robot I could imagine.

I heard you got off with a girl outside the top ten? Is that true?

I heard you got off with a girl outside the top ten? When did that happen?

I heard you got off with a girl outside the top ten? Which space-time continuum was that in?

Error report.

She gave me a look my logic could not decipher.

A thought process I was too slow to catch.

She said to me:

‘D, You could do so much better.’

Then she spun around, laughing

teleporting the length of the corridor in between blinks of my eyes.


Somewhere in a galaxy far far away, with hover cars and babel fish,

there is a version of me that went out with the Queen of the Hockey team for a summer, who I serenaded with digital beats.

Dominic JP Nelson-Ashley

from the poetry collection ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK