February early morning
Freezing rain soaks my clothes, my hair,
I do not care. I am not there.
I stare at the mortar
between the crumbling bricks in this old wall
built by the calloused hands of men who’d survived
the Somme. Who’d been called ‘dirty scabs’
in 1929 by striking dockers, miners. They’d hung their heads in shame
but they’d had mouths to feed. They’d taken any work they could obtain.
They’d carved their initials, the date 1929, on the granite bridge
that took them over to Quaker fields where kicking a soggy football
helped them forget their empty bellies, if only for a while.
Now young kids smoke skunk here, the sweet smell everywhere
hanging heavy in the air. Their great grandfathers had used Laudanum,
that concoction of opium and alcohol, then still rife, despite the law.
There is always resistance, many ways to get out of your head,
and begin to imagine that there could be more. So much fucking more.