on the 2nd of December 2020 in Bedminster, UK

I’d been resisting – the stress

of looking for work, or

using the time in a way that Cliff would have approved of

and – let’s be honest

getting soft in me old age

but not today – out the door!

It’s cloudy.

Primary school across the road

bittersweet as ever

young teacher in Santa hat and visor

guides the exuberant innocents

i turn onto the pavement (carefully)

and then the cars begin, dozens

like poisonous sharks trying to close in on shore

each with its precious cargo

and fully armed

with excuses

(expletive deleted)

I pass the funeral parlour

where a liveried ambulance waits and i

laugh at the thought of the old guys laughing

in the hospice they run across the road

a one-stop shop until you drop

(dark materials take the heat)

And now i’m on main street, that highway

between hells

chocker with chokers, mostly muscle cars

pumped-up parentals

on the “school run”

(expletive deleted)

still plenty diesel for the schoolkids to breathe in

as they walk alongside

and if it stunts their minds

the guy in the beamer will find a way

to get over it

Had enuf.

Turn into the side streets to run the gauntlet

of the gentry’s shiny hockey sticks

so much to like

so much to feel shit about, i

turn into a jolly little street to see

moms and dads and tiny little feet

walking round to school, and I know

i should be glad

but part of me fills with hate

We are apes

not wolves

we’ll never stop resenting


however gentle

It’s bin day. Everywhere

men my age in Guantanamo suits

roll and drag the detritus of these lives

up and down improbable hills

while the guy in the bay window

checks his mail

So many smells

so little time – what’s that?

Cleansing, wholesome, powerful blast

ammonia from the Last Launderette

wrestles with the refuse and the diesel

if i cared enuf about my lungs i’d be like Rabbit

always on the run

Home, i turn

crossing East Street

Peacocks, my friendly saviours

still – just – open

George’s shutters down tho today’s the day

the beans can hit the toast again

and i’m listening to myself

“judgemental git”

but there’s a pain in it, the pain

of knowing everywhere you turn

there’s a job to be done

And the worst of it is not that

there’s so much, nor that

there’s so many, who don’t want to face it, no

it’s us, we’re all mixed up

hey, that’s ok, it’s complicated (in some ways)

but we’ve got to want to understand

we’ve got to hang on to that

on our side


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