27 July 2016

Wednesday Evening After School

Wednesday evening
After school. The
Hissing bus stops – hydraulics –
Or pneumatics; one of the two –
At the bottom of
The hill. He walks up the hill.
Past the chip
Shop. Vomit on the
Floor. Galvanised railings
Kicked-in, dinted
By hooligans. Or so
They say. Leaning
Youths might once have
Leant, underwear black,
Showing beneath triple X-L
White T, against the bars
Left leg bent, white or blue
Adidas Classics propped
Against an iron rod, resting,
Bored. Bored out her
Fucking skull, staring into the
Chippy. Shoe sole taps
To a beat inside her cranium.
Imaginary dancer.
Glances back at the restaurant.
Too expensive for
Tea. Even her own reflection in
Its window looks disgruntled,
Staring back. But she'll have a bag
Of batter bits after the
Youth club on Friday.
Ten pence well spent
To let the girls know she can
Afford a splurge before
The weekend. Eleven years old.

He paces past the memories, walks
Past the wooden doors,
Right leg straight, its
Foot on chequered tarmac.
Grey swathes among the
Deeper-potted jet. Six inches
Or something of iron grate
Spoils the look. Its embossed
Capital W beckons. Crouch,
Pull the coat-hanger hook
From his pocket, push it through the
Gap. Heave. Grunt. The
Grate lifts. Reach inside.
Spin the tap, thankful his skinny
Arms reach all the
Way inside. Twisted it the
Wrong way at first. Power. He'll
Cut off the water.
Hose-pipe ban. He has
That power, the power
Of the papers. No water for your grass.
I know, I know, you have no grass
To water.
Reverse the spin. He'll show them.
The rude-boy shouldn't
Have pushed him in
The park.

Left leg folded, taking steps
On higher steps of concrete
Single steps at the base
Of every terrace-door.
There's no glamour here,
Not even jobs any more.
Not for these. Doomed.
Forever poor.
He cuts across the street, open to
Pedestrian only.
Too many cars used to
Cut-through the cut-through.
More terrace. How many houses can
They build in one place?
Not enough. How many
Occupants is more telling.
They played and lost.
Should not have called their bluff.

Still, he sees milk
Outside a glass-paned,
Timber-framed door, varnish
Over patterned panes from unsteady
Hands at the edges. The
Handle, too-tempting. He is too clever
Not pre-empting: if he knocks
Will the old lady
Inside pull the handle
To open to the world?
Of course she will. So
Prop an empty milk
Jar above
The handle on the outside.
Balanced just right.
Time to knock
And run. Time to hide across the street
To watch the glass fall for some fun.
No answer for his
Amusement. That's a pity.
Perhaps the old crone
Got wise after the second
Time. Or maybe she's
Just out. Never mind, he'll
Brag about it anyway,
Explain he saw the glass shatter.
A creak. Smash. Shards
Of glass.
It worked. The old bitch just
Took her time.
Brag that he saw it, still.
Though he didn't. Doesn't
Matter. Got to
Dash. He runs now. School
Tie in the wind, blows
Behind, over shoulder, blazer tails flap.

Pass the corner shop
That always looks closed.
More cages over the window
Than a cell.
No light inside. Dim. But ten-pence mixes
If you've got the cash.
He walks on the road.
Past more terraces.
A few parked cars.
A cat sunbathes.
A silver mountain bike lies
Unchained . He don't nick it.
He is not a bloody thief.
Tires low
On air.
After he unscrews the
Caps and depresses
The valves.
"What are—" he don't give the bloke
Time to finish
His sentence.
Just run once again to
Entertain himself
On his way home
From school.

Created: 20 July 2016. Version 1.0.

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