Dark drunken Paisley nights,
the sociability of bus stops
amidst the gobs of spit
and wet discarded piles of
wasted beer and chips.
An old unshaven man prevents
the stop from falling,
arms wrapped round the cold steel pole
with much more love
than he has ever shown at home.
A pocket, loose,
raggedly protects a brown-bagged bottle.
Fortified, the label says,
as if its strength will stop
the stomach heaves
and keep the drinker from the cold.
A boy goes past
nervously arrogant without his gang,
caught halfway between being lord of the street
and just another one of father’s punching bags.
A woman passes hurriedly,
late shift at the hospital,
already seen enough
to fill one night’s imaginings.
Taxis rumble by
distributing their loads
to other lives.
The old man coughs and swigs his wine
the bus is late—so what?
The stop is friendly.
What’s at home anyway?
Kids are gone,
silent wife’ll never understand.
Life's been shite since the factory closed.
He takes another drink, and slips.
The bus stop, treacherous, has moved
betraying a friend.
The bottle falls, shatters.
“Fuck,” the man slurs.
He weeps to watch his hope run down the gutter.
Around his feet a blowing paper wraps
plastering his skinny legs.
An ineffectual kick opens up the sheet.
“Man Lands on Moon”
the headline reads.