It’s hard to look back. I now realise near midnight recollecting the face you never showed me it to engrossed in Instagrams glare. I’m bleary, deciding to Mobb Deep, not podcast as an familiar unknown middle age white lady stares me down. I must be occupying her place. She’s unaware of my staff badge, my shirt and tie hidden by my threatening winter coat.
You two couldn’t be farther apart, together on the crampt carriage East. Your trousers yawn a permanent gape, exposing what I hope are sports shorts. You hair has a crispy sheen, unevenly wetted locks and relaxed tufts taming what was never wild.
But your neighbour’s a combed coiffed quiff, an Essex swirl, the kinda pompous pompadour you see in cafe’s, fairly highly priced for a coffee ceded in an unfair trade. He’s out the window, with eyes following all absent from us; must be nice; while my nearing obnoxious eye never see yours, still fixed in your iPhone glow. To him we’ve all melted away, as if his dream pursues the tram. On mass we unperturbed by the black buzz cut grandma no one offered a seat.
I’m drawn back to you with a fond aversion. I lament the shirt that’s a bit yellow from Thursday’s turn, pristine Nike hoody, Blazer latticed with scratches and from stints as a goal post, black Air Force school shoes matching the hood and skin. Sir Attenborough taught me when you’re bottom you’re barely surviving.
My eye lingers on, saving data, living outside. You grin, your head lifted and drifting to the side. You touch his arm and he looks at your iPhone, you both look, laugh, look again, laugh again. He looks back out the window and you back to your glow. I’m sorry.
They’re all on strike today and the day before that too. The doctors, the teachers, postal workers and the late Southern workers.
the radio says they’re selfish, caring about them own, devil may care about the repercussions.
we’re all fractured, aspiring for a togetherness, in spiteful factions. Blind to other’s pleas.
Croydon doesn’t have any new council houses, but we’ve got a new council building
and someone built us all a lovely new Box Park.
What lingers in the air is the scent of, mum’s cooking
cooked by someone’s Aunty from Spanish-town.
New black Bimmers pulling up
to get a recession priced chicken & rice.
Prams and pushers slowing down the 312,
and some fool claims his new oyster card’s ‘in the post‘.
The sky’s blue,
cracking through new build Aldi and the ancient maisonette.
It’s quiet today, the school children at home preparing for school tomorrow,
And the response they’ll give to ‘Where’s your homework!?’
And still after 20 years I love you all the same.
Wise to your failings and flaws.
and your trembling peace.
I remember you from a former life,
from a track
ran by road-youths.
before adult reality’s claxton,
screamed our cease.
In my mind I still
We never drifted.
There was no loss,
no flood of blood,
washing away your innocence.
Held at ransom by the Foxton Cartel,
Local 2 bed mansions – guilded
in wheelie bin refuse, styled beaten brick chic.
Unattainable from the past’s sepia optimism.
la vie indisponible
available part ownership, deposit
a 100% addition to the student deficit.
to those with finances pristine Waitrose white.
25% of your days,
for your net total years.
a scheme helping the capital
grasp at the 1%’s remnance.
To venture with an old friend
Or advance a trembling true love,
Inflate your equity
To bleed for the benevolent extortion.
Your life now only available in part-