New Terms

Whist you commuters
weary your lit ways
at ergonomic desks
and begging screens

I will walk out
to that richer idyll
that you can only visit
when allowed

You are locked down
by your WiFi streams –
even the commute
is more small displays

Those sealed views
from that fixed carriage
is the best you can do
on most weekdays

until the sullenness
of September dims
and the daily journeys
are seen as reflections

And the mid-term break
in October’s pointlessness
is the dark reminder
that holidays have been taken.

Rainy Days

The commuter drag
through Haywards Heath,
nose-to-tail,
we queue before death,
we the cocooned
in our leases of life,
counting the weeks
until the holiday ride:
Succour found in Waitrose,
and down at Screwfix,
then a fantastic night –
thanks to Netflix.
I will wake in darkness,
and return home the same,
my weekends are spent
to validate this pain:
I squander my fortune
before I no longer work,
I save nothing for old age,
my pension’s a joke.

The Ending

They gather, again,
after an endless week
of slow commutes
and old complaints,
about train operators
and these long dog days,
but tonight, all together,
returned to the village,
at the cricket ground,
propped on folding chairs,
or in heel-rocked groups,
gripping their quick pint,
and here too those
time-battered wives,
the stay-behinds,
who attempt to hide
their underlined eyes
behind bag-sized
designer sunglasses:
Here, outscoring,
by the pint-poured pavilion,
they size up the weekend
and, again, get slightly pissed
before they return,
at dusk, with burnt-out kids,
to their pleasure domes,
still on loan, as is the car,
and all that they know.

TN22

Seven AM,
just me and the dog,
on the piled steps
of the lifestyle shop,

as an off-white van
rumbles up the hill,
leaving a rolled cloud
of diesel ill-will,

blaring inanity
with windows wound down.

A commuter snarls,
bent into her frown,

striding with a latte
to catch the train,
her life evaporating
within London (again).

And then the false dawn
of amber street lights
kill themselves off
as she departs this life.

Season Tickets


At fifty miles an hour
along London’s tracks,
beside allotments,
and back-to-backs,
past six-deep internees,
stacked in graveyards,
parallel to house building,
and joggers in parks;
above small archways,
over scrapyards of crap,
then on to the river,
across spanned tracks,
crossing the Thames
the commute here slows,
almost a pause,
but then over they go,
for eight long hours
of Powerpoint charts,
‘a quickie’ in a bar,
then home from the farce.


 

The Journeyman

You know where to stand, at 06:45,
on that concrete and slab pier,
above the meadow where I walk
into that sunrise,

which you will travel towards,
irritated by its flicker at speed
and jealous of my steps
through dew grass,

and further irritated by these,
my slow observations
of high-wire catching,
weighted, cobwebs,

as you journey into the Bridge,
on a service which sucks
out your life,
out of which
no holiday survives.