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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Poem from a Bus Shelter by Clare Shaw‏

This is not a life, but if it was

I’d say I always lived here.
I’d say this street; this long grey face
of factories, flats; the boarded shops;
the tired, concrete houses, squats –
they saw my first bright day.

I was clean as a breeze,
as cold as glass. I sweated rain,
was slicked by the wind, was beautifully bare.
I filled myself with city sound,
the blur and swirl of good blue air.

When Winter came, and the gale,
and the church roof flapped and fractured like a wing;
when thin trees fell
and shop fronts swelled and bellied –
I stood my ground.

I knew where I belonged.
I was the colour of a dockside warehouse,
blue-grey. The shade of a cold,
an evening cloud, a hangover, a foggy day.
If I had ever had a life

I would say that I was proud
and it could be true.
Come rain or snow,
come the long white corridor
of Christmas;

come crowds with spiteful corners; come
the wet green growl of winter spit;
come fist; come kick;
come the lurch of stolen cars;
come stone; come brick;

come I luv Gaz, Mick,
Shaz; come weekend chips;
come drunken piss; come empty cans;
come the sad pink skins of condoms,
dog shit, sick, come sick –
come morning, I was there.

And if I had ever had a life
half worth the privilege of the name –
if I had not been rooted to this spot
and treated to the things
that other lives spit out

I would be proud
and I would write it –
I would write it clear and loud
in bold black ink
with my bold black hand
I would write it.

I woz ere.