flying home

G to E after a week working in S

an hours journey supposed to be

diverted to M because of snow

so I caught a train from the airport to C

after a ‘phone call asking if I could stay over

another train to S to stop at my stepmothers

the old family home

she couldn’t drive out to me she told as it was dark

so I walked the four miles to her house there

via the grog shop of course two cans of Newcastle brown

& a half bottle of gin

needing something after the freezing night air

we sat together the tv turned up to 11

as she is slightly deaf if too vain for deaf aids

offered me a slice of toast was all she had in she said

as I sat warming up trying to decompress from the hours

of trains the turmoil the walking the cold

drinking my cans of newkie’ brown

the tv was all reality shows or soaps with people

going on or shouting at each other

when she asked

you know my filigree silver cup?

the one with the blue glass bowl?

I think so I offered

well since you were last here I can’t find it

no idea I said downing the second can

then getting up to take a call in the kitchen

from my love in our home there in the Devon snow

I’ll be on a train home tomorrow its five hours

if they’re running there wasn’t one tonight

I’ll see you soon hope you’ve got enough wood in

for the log burner xx night night

& went back in to the roar of the tv

the half of gin

where observing me from her la-z-boy she offered

you do drink a lot don’t you?

are you some kind of alcofrolic?

some minor celeb

pulling out of London

early afternoon train

gliding the slidings junctions

& there opposite me

was this minor celebrity

did DIY projects on the tv

sitting pleased with his plump wife

looking out at the scenery

complaining about the graffiti

as he showed his train pass

provided by the production company

I spoke up that’s not graffiti

those are tags peoples names

proclaiming this place as territory

oh yeah? he drawled sweet

some expectation of voice recognition

oh yeah those are the only fame

some of these street kids

are ever gonna get

I could see his eyes harden

feel thoughts stir in his head

hear the clampdown

on the getting of them said

as we sat in silence

for the rest of that ride

whence you came

There is always more than one way out

turn your life around

you can always go full circle

go back from whence you came

sure there may be a sense of defeat

hints of shame or failure so I’m told

a learning to be gained from about

or a sidestep to pick up let rip

with the money on a train bus

go missing leave your phone laptop

take flight fright in the night run

new town new life fresh wife love


you can send me photos from your phone

of your piles of money

rag eared thousands in cash

your grinning drug running buds

stacks of full baggies plain view

& we can wait for the po po

to kick in your door

stop you in your car or street

& hey presto

your new life will arrive

new threads new friends


all exits

Dude on the train

looks like an ex bank manager

a branch that was closed

due to the economy

slowdown in trade

& there is an air of defeat

hanging over his head

small dark cloud of waiting to rain

& being a nice guy

I’d love to smile say

might never happen fella

but life has taught me strong

with unfortunate harsh lessons

never get involved unless invited

& even then

make careful note

of all exits

on the train

trying to shift my head

out of the dawn sun

slicing through the glass

as they witter on on on

& he said so I said

she said so I turned to her

& said what about…?

the struggles of the working poor

trying to make sense

out of the everyday

striving for jesus make the day

to knock soft on heavens door

hope for a place at the table

home for those worn out feet

& I would love them more

if there was a bottle between us

something to take

the edge off away

help me get into the zone

prepare me lord

help me earn my pay

within the orbit

I could hear the train

rattling in the distance

the rain landing on trees

the roof & the road

cars hissing by hitting puddles

splashing back again

& nothing

plenty of that

more than enough to go round

lasting for days weeks months

enough to push me

into wanting to leave

where those left behind

were content to be born

live & die within the orbit

of sound of that distant train

to see me as the black sheep

jumping the hedge

escaping the fold

at a loss to understand

why something more

was needed than that big pot

of nothing

trust in the universe

you must come they said

just get here leave it all to us

& it seemed that easy

for a girl Sorbonne educated

him with a job with IBM in La Defense

catch a ferry jump on a train

here’s our address on George Cinq

please bring English staples

loose tea thick white bread

HP brown sauce baked beans

so I loaded up one Friday early

caught the ferry over that thin water

walked a mile jumped on a train

landed in Paris Gare St lazare

sometime around midnight

metro to the 16th arrondisement

& walked to the Hotel Ranelagh

they were expecting me they said

took me to my room & I fell asleep

until lunchtime Saturday

& reading that it seems so easy

no hint of the fear the nervousness

inability to speak the language

being petrified my first solo trip

no organisation to fall back on

nobody to hold my shaking hand

just a trust in the universe to get me

take me to where I was going

other stories in time

he took a train

I saw him off at the station

turned & walked away

he would not be coming

this way ever again

though I did not fully understand

that at the time

my instincts told me so

& there wasn’t a sad eye

about the place

we were friends once

that time had come to an end

he would go on to lesser things

gambling women & the drink

never finding the money

to put ink to paper

a one time great friend

& later you hear stories from others

the spiral down the deep sink

to think of trains & stations

none of us the loser here

just different destinations

other stories in time