Station on the way

She had perfect white teeth

the kind you get

from big bills

youth spent in the chair

money left over

put aside

after all else is paid

& I have no idea

of that life

no understanding

what that must be like

sure she hates her parents

wants out of that life

her life

doing something with meaning

y’know

& she’s here with me

canvassing the neighbourhood

it is understood that she follow me

when I give instructions

she follow them

but she is the attraction

our bright star

seeking votes

I drag her

through piss pong alleys

up apartment stairs

where the tenants

let their dogs out to shit

not caring where

into stinking stairwells

out on to landings

where the drug dealers rule

she dazzles them

its that sparkle on the teeth

they let us by

watching carefully

which doors we knock

who complains on their presence

who smiles

who don’t

they wave as we go

pale imitation of gang signs

as I breathe a sigh of relief

those kids’d fuck me up

in a heartbeat

without breaking sweat

just to make the point

& through it all

she smiles

this is all new

grist for her mill

finally we get to the end

she looks all around

‘bit of gentrification

better cleaning

& this’d be a beautiful place’

I smile back

if I know nothing of her life

she knows less

of how it is here

that smile is going places

this is but a station

on the way

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