Hempstead Meadows

I sat on the drunks’ bench,
near the ever-overflowing bin,
shadowing that worn patch
of pressed mud, shit-tinged.

This sitter’s view, skewed,
a beer-distorted luxury,
beside dried bird muck;
a far Tannoy says ‘Sorry..’

Further on the meadows’ path
bushes are clean-picked,
the bearing branches snapped,
stamped back, welly kicks,

where pie-makers,
and black-fingered kids,
thorn-pricked, with sucked cuts,
have harvested:

They have filled, lid-shut,
Tupperware containers,
loaded up September’s
sweet black scratch crop.

Then, the smell of weed,
and it is not Japanese,
the path is now a trade route
for teenagers’ to please:

The three lads pass me,
space for the sad bloke,
with cocksure strides,
and the exhalation of smoke

which we old imbibe,
those sweet fumes of youth,
one so deeply inhales,
bench-sat, wine-abused.

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