Lodge Road, Southampton … a poem about a place, a very long time ago, and the love that was lost there

Posted: October 1, 2015 in Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , ,

LODGE ROAD, SOUTHAMPTON (1-3)

1

Determined, the bus belches its way up the incline.

Inside, cold white faces stare at me, unseeing.

They look at me but don’t watch.

(I take care not to stare

as they pull up at the flaky green bus stop

But I do watch).

Out from the bus steps the girl with the long, greasy-blonde

hair. I have seen her often. The sort of girl

you really shouldn’t fancy

(so, of course, you do).

This morning she pressed her body

into an envelope of black plastic,

stuck down the edges with a gash of make-up,

and posted herself to another pointless day.

Tonight she puddles her way home again.

Scuffed red shoes perilously splish-splash their way

past my heart.

A tight little ball of sex

and lost dreams, no longer hopeful,

and not pretty enough for her clothes.

2

On the corner of the road with the playground in

Pepe closes up Pepe’s Italian hair-dressers.

Winds back his shiny new awning

and gazes with smiling satisfaction at the light streaming

from his windows.

Lighting up the pavement.

Everyone will see what a warm inviting place his little shop is,

as they crawl home in the wet.

They will look at the bright lights and Panther hair tonic

and the piles of unbought faded yellow Durex packets

(“Something for the weekend, Sir?”)

and remember they needed a haircut.

(Pepe learnt all this from his father.

so it must be true).

As I pass him, he looks straight through me.

He does not recognize wet people in anoraks.

Only dry, springy heads of hair in need of

conditioning and cheerful chatter.

Next door at the late night grocery store

the till-girl who wouldn’t be working for the Indians if she had

any choice, but you know how work is,

reaches new heights of indifference.

As we all drip politely on her recently straightened pile of

Evening Sports Echos she is already in her lover’s arms.

Proud and defiant, she stares down confidently at all comers

in the local disco.

“He’s mine,” she sneers, “­All mine!”

Rich without money, a coarse, virile possession in an

unexciting world.

26p pint of milk kiss

74p curly smoked sausage groping urgent hands

62p Mother’s Pride Thick Sliced last Saturday in his car

it was the first time with him

won’t be the last

oh no.

She doesn’t even see me as her mind on automatic pilot

calls out my bill.

Well, why should she?

3

I press my nose to the drizzly window of the video shop,

waiting for the crush inside to die down.

Wonder if they’ll remember I owe them a quid?

The little tubby girl is serving, all stupid shy smiles and

dimples. She’ll let me off even if she remembers.

Little black boxes of freedom from thought stacked neatly

row upon row. Boxes of dreams.

Don’t get that one, it’s rubbish. Saw it last week.

(Can’t tell you though.

Don’t want to be thought the sort of

bloke who talks to folks in video shops.)

Trot home clutching our escape route for the night.

Never mind what it is, dear.

(Not that we do anymore anyway).

You stare at him, and I’ll watch her, and when they do

(as they always do)

we’ll clear our throats self-consciously

(’cause we don’t, so much, anymore.)

There was a time when we did.

Watching them at it would

probably have sparked us off.

But the spark went out.

Got damp.

(Should we have got a comedy tonight?

Always should when it’s raining. How come it’s always

raining nowadays?)

Now, out there in the street,

the dirty old bus putters his way home,

leaving a last late commuter cut up on the kerb.

Impervious, inexorable, the great yellow Leviathan trundles into the middle distance,

unaware that my TV screen has turned to a little white dot

that seems to want to suck me in.

As you quietly wander up to bed

I listen sadly to the occasional late-homer,

full of the desperate cheerfulness of a

drab pub where at least someone talks to him.

71 Poems & 1 Story is available in printed format and as a download. Share of any profits to the Bali Childrens’ Foundation and Alzheimer’s Australia

Advertisements
Comments
  1. […] Lodge Road, Southampton … a poem about a place, a very long time ago, and the love that was lo… .recentcomments a{display:inline !important;padding:0 !important;margin:0 !important;} […]

    Like

  2. Pete says:

    Brilliant poetry, inspired I think, by E J Thribb

    Like

What do YOU think? That's what matters. Please comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s