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Posts Tagged ‘London’

A breezy refrain bellows unexpectedly

Within this deserted vacuum.

Only a faceless few are left now.

The suited man, I have decided, is a workaholic

In the throes of a traumatic marital breakup.

His face is stern, captured in a

Generous film of sweat;

The brow is furrowed, folding away his troubles,

Whilst a shaky left hand sources his top jacket pocket

For a filtered cigarette.

He takes one tentative step forward,

Coughing violently into his crumpled handkerchief;

A present, perhaps.

I look openly into his diluted eyes

For I can be no more than five feet from

His drunken silhouette.

My back aches from the lousy support

Offered by a half-eaten chair peppered with cigarette burns

And blemishes of discarded chewing gum.

Without the safeguard of his office place

He can lie to his mind no further;

The loving words, the mistress and the failed promises

Breach his false divide and pull a heavy tear

From his self-pitying conscience.

As the train pulls into the platform,

His shadow leaves this emotive portal;

The truth exposed, the darkness lifted,

Paving the way for new proposals.

I turn away from this scene and look for my ride.

The light is dim and tempered.

I try to find my way past the panic-stricken mother

Who stands rooted, like a statue of inconvenience,

In my path to the ticket barrier.

She leans to her right-hand side with certain poise

Wise to my exit strategy,

While her scruffy child runs amok in the distance,

Wriggling on the floor and silent to his creator’s cries for calm,

Cries that are swept up by the chugging sound

Of my night escort, ready to relieve me

From this macabre scene of chaos and breakdown.

I take matters into my own hands.

My arms extend horizontally and then lift to

Push the women forcefully out of my eye line.

Her mouth opens briefly before my growl tells her

To walk away, to tend to the hooligan child that she volunteered

Into this world and continues to fail.

Its midnight, the air bites and pricks at my

Shirtless arms and I can’t be fucked to be civil to these people,

Not here.

I breach the turnstyle and smile meekly at the paper stall man

He nods courteously before packing away tomorrow’s history

Into a battered wheel barrow, as if taking out the family rubbish.

The carriage is close now;

My feet rapping rhythmically with every step.

I quicken my pace, feeling the eyes of all

Who have passed through the bowels of

This station settling upon me, offering

Their darkest secrets.

I scrape away the moisture from my top lip

And pull the rucksack close to me.

Turning behind, I see a train departing and

I think of the people inside and what will become of them.

I close the door behind me and pick the

Nearest place from the choice of empty

Seats and breathe heavily.

I cannot help but feel that something profound

Has happened to me here,

Something lasting.

I flick my fingers on the drop down table and

Try to engage in the mundane and normal,

That most horrid of things – the routine.

I think of the weeks ahead but my mind

Clouds over and a sickness builds in my gut.

After what seems like an age,

A ghostly whistle finally pierces the dank hush;

The train creaks forward, reluctant to carry

Its cargo away into the dark covers of the night.

I hope never to come back here again.

– 2006

 

This was written on the train coming back – late at night – from London Paddington. I recall feeling a great sense of loneliness walking through the vast station alone, with night settled and odd characters shuffling about in ones and twos. I then began to think about all of the stories and personalities that must have passed through this portal at various points in time, including the tears, the joy and all other emotions fixed to those moments – all of them ghosts from the past.

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