The Last Journey before Isolation


I am one of three unwise men
gathering early at the bus stop,
for our reluctant journey
to the silent city.

I place my bag on my seat
enforce social isolation.
Cover my face with a newspaper
breath in news
breath out speculation.
Breath in fact
breath out fiction.

When we arrive we scatter
like rats, scuttling down silent streets.
Masked spirits avoid eye contact
before vanishing as quickly as
the smoke from my cigarette.

 

Written after I returned from my last commute to Birmingham and the lockdown was announced.

City Beat


birmingham-skyline-2

There is a secret heart
That nestles at the center of the city.
Which with its rhythmical
Urban pulse and beat,
Reinforces all that it is

The beat triggers the cities arteries,
Its roads and pavements,
To surge into action.
Feet pound, tyres squeal,
Engines roar and voices rise.

The beat is the signal for change,
High-vis white cells respond.
The city is reduced to rubble
Only to reappear as the heart beats again.
Rising and falling before your eyes.

The beat calls to the city’s lifeblood,
Its myriad inhabitants.
This is a place where all are welcome,
A vibrant multicultural smorgasbord
No one is ever turned away.

All these parts of the city
Contribute to its rich DNA.
Uniquely powerful strands.
That when fused together
Create the complex world around you.

 

Dedicated to Birmingham UK , my second home.

The Train now Departing


train-line-stock

My last sight
Was your face.

Then as the dull brick
Of the station
Bled into the sprawling
Urban jigsaw of the suburbs,
You remained
Reflected in my window.

When rural emeralds
And russet earth
Sped into view
I thought I could still see you,
Spectral,
Keeping up with my journey.

Your features are burnt
Into my retina.
I don’t dare blink and lose you.

But when I pulled in
At my destination
Our last time together is over.
As I looked through the window
And watched you finally
Fading from my view.

 

No Sleep till Birmingham


wmbus

You wake as the sun starts to rise,
Can’t shake the fog behind your eyes.
Drop your breakfast, scare the cat,
As you leave, trip over the door mat.

Stand at the bus stop half-awake,
Wondering how long it will take.
But you know when the bus comes,
Your sleeping all the way to Birmingham.

However as you set off to work,
Roadworks cause the bus to jerk.
So in your seat you bounce and slam,
Realising they’ll be no sleep till Birmingham.

 

Quick note. Birmingham UK is where I head every weekday to my job and this poem is sadly based on a story that happens so often it’s almost a serial.

 

Memory Blisters


FIBREGLASS LUMP HAMMERS

The only pleasure I ever got from
my parent’s old conservatory,
was taking a lump hammer to its
dour walls. Demolishing them,
with relish.

Bricks splinter as I
remember my hated music lessons
within conservatory walls.
I’d mangle scales, sending my sister
scrambling to turn the telly up.

Dust rises as I strike a blow
for all the times I was held hostage
by the rain. I would be there waiting,
my wellies willing the skies to clear. So I
could escape and lose myself in puddles.

Glass splinters as conservatory
windows fragment. I think back to
when I would press my face against them.
Ignoring my homework, I dreamed of
practicing daring stunts on my bike.

Silence. I stand among the rubble,
breathless but triumphant. Then I
dance on the debris enjoying its whimper
like crunch. I halt to pop my blisters, smiling
as my memories like their pain starts to fade

 

Quick story. I joined the Birmingham Stanza poetry group last month and this poem is the result of a workshop that was held there. The workshop gave each poet a room in a house and an emotion and we had to work them into a poem, my emotion was joy and my room the conservatory. Stanza is a great way to get to know poets in your area and expand your poetic powers click here to see if there is one in the UK near you, or if there isn’t see how to start your own.

Oh and I never really knocked down a conservatory, it’s still standing at my parents house.

Escape


roadworks

Cautiously I weave through the city’s streets
Hoping to spot a gap in its defences
An escape route to dodge the urban chaos.
But I’m not quick enough, I’m seen.

The city cleverly outmaneuvers me.
Chain link fences rapidly spring up,
High Vis jacketed guards are deployed,
Eagerly readying diversion signs.

I consult my electronic map
Tapping a route from A to bus.
I peer down gloomy back streets,
Desperate to circumvent chain link.

The city easily foils me again.
It throws up chewed up concrete,
Piling it across my escape route
Forcing me again to adapt quickly.

Alternate routes are no-go zones.
As slow hulking diggers and drills
Blockade bus and cycle lanes,
Oblivious to the honking tailback.

Tightly hugging the shadows
I place my faith in my electronic map.
Its reassuring beeps and buzzes
Shepherds me through hell to my goal.

I see my target, the last bus
Just as it starts to depart.
I desperately fling out my arm
Hoping the driver is on my side.

I finally escape the chaos,
Driving into the sunset
A Hollywood happy ending.
Until I wake tomorrow.

 

Dedicated to anyone who has their commute disrupted by road works.

Selective Rioting


The untouched charity shop
Stands next to the looted TV store.
The smashed designer clothes emporium
Next to the pristine Starbucks.
Broken glass crunches underfoot
As boarded windows line the streets.
Blue police tape decorates the path
As its owners loiter looking tired.
The city stirs uneasily from the looting
And people talk about nothing else.

 

I was going to finish my jolly little barbecue poem this morning but instead after two days of walking through the debris of the Birmingham looting I changed my mind.

Partial Nudity in Birmingham.


It’s a sign of the good weather that the world , well Birmingham anyway has decided it’s time to air their pale winter limbs !

Strolling down Broad Street
As the sun peeks out,
The pale flesh appears.
White arms blink,
As sleeves are discarded.
Around the cathedral.
Skirts are hitched up
Leggings discarded,
While the Bishop averts his eyes.
My arms join the throng,
As bustling through the Bull Ring
I don sunglasses.
Trying in vain
To hide my beer belly
So as not to scare the sun away.