Freeman Street, Grimsby
Location! Location! Location! It’s a mantra
the upwardly mobile intone,
who have set up shop elsewhere –
catchpenny merchants with tricks up sleeves,
purveyors of pleasures and deals.
On a street where ripples of boom
and bust have long since subsided
beneath the tide of failure
the footfall of ‘three day millionaires’
kept all the rest in business.
Awaiting turns to land their catches,
trawlers rode at anchor, backed up
beyond the docks. Their crews staggering
ashore to re-establish land legs
lost them again in pubs
where men now washed up at forty
nurse disconsolate pints;
while workless youths hang out,
honing their skills with cues
in a room above the Scope shop.
Marks and Sparks pulled out, leaving
a space filled by Mad Harry’s
discount store that held its own for a while,
until it went the way
of Tony’s Textiles, the Polski Sklep.
Along this windy channel
nothing much survives beyond its upper
reaches, where Asda thrives like a final
outpost. There’s a place that fixes hoovers;
an Alpha course that fixes souls.
From time to time – like a twinge
of conscience there’s talk
of schemes, regeneration: but who throws
good money after bad? Everything Must Go!
the sign says, when it’s already gone.