Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Interlude 8—Paisley Nights

Paisley Nights

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,

eyes down,

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.

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