Saturday, 26 April 2014

This Place

There is decay here,
an almost death,
a dying of a heart.

in this place this town,
behind shuttered windows
shuttered doors
lays desolation emptiness,
history long ago     
into echoes in its walls.

And in this doorway
here he sits, half in half out,
looks up as water spouts from cluttered gutter,
cascading down on already sodden hair. 
He plays well his part, knows his well-practiced line.
This waif this clean-shaven ragamuffin
(Sim Free buzzing in his pocket)
waits for the next passing soft-hearted sucker
and grinning, he thinks he sees her coming. 
This is it (he thinks) and he plays his part,
wears his most soulful face and utters:
Can you spare a penny missus?

She hasn’t any and hurries by. 
She wears the worries of this winter,
can differentiate
twixt wants and needs,
knows an empty purse
will not feed her waiting wailing mouth
shivering in his shabby buggy.

Across there,
the market square, once bristling –
now bare and barren
bar dog leading doleful master. 
He [dog] cocks leg into the air,
fountains golden arc into
downpour splattering from the highest heavens. 
They walk a little further and he [dog]
bobs down and defecates. 
Master looks around
and sin unseen (he thinks) they carry on.  
Someone else’s job (he smugly muses).

(She has seen both man and dog,
 tuts in disgust and scurries to the docks,
hoping praying for a waiting sailor.)

The Jolly Roger is nigh going under…  
Outside, paint cracked and peeling –
and over there,
seagulls squawking screeching squealing
squabble over tasty morsels
titbits of last evening’s discarded drunken suppers.

Inside, mein host, angst-ridden
raises a silent toast in hope
of better-things-to-come,
hopes the louts of yesterday
will come again tonight,
the louts who cuss and fight with who/whatever/over
their half-dressed drunken flirting foul-mouthed tarts. 
(At least they bring a paltry income in.) 
He sighs;
there is a poverty in our young (he thinks) –
a poverty of ideas. 
But they are all he has as docks lay ship-empty –
as empty as his once-stuffed till.

The lout – still in his doorway,
Sim Free buzzing in his pocket,
begs beer money as another sucker passes.

There are no ships here,
no sailors here to buy her body,
her body once freely given
to some loud-mouthed cocky lout
(Sim Free buzzing in his pocket);
she then discarded like some drunken supper.

She has no hope. 
She has nothing
but a poverty –

a poverty of ideas.

Anna :o]

The above are imaginations based on observations of my once-bustling & vibrant town centre.  My town centre is dying – and being allowed to die as my myopic council refuse to lower rents.  And on the town’s peripheries, supermarkets flourish…

Entered at OLN at dVerse, hosted by the lovely Beth – thanks Beth.  
Entered today (28.04.14) at Poets United Poetry Pantry - hosted by the lovely Mary - thanks Mary.

Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Author: Rept0n1x


Claudia said...

oh heck.. you paint a vivid picture of the people along the way.. it's sad when a town is dying - esp. when you have seen her once flourishing...ugh...wish they would re-think and find a way to save her from dying

rosaria williams said...

Still, these characters could be found anywhere, the beggar, the giver, the wisher...even the dog and his master.

Heaven said...

How sad to see the place empty and lacking energy, discarded as drunken supper, yikes ~

This is well written Anna ~

Beth Winter said...

I worked in a town that was way past its heyday. I learned the past and compared it to the present. I saw the boarded windows and the remains of a decaying, deserted opera house on the floor above me. You have eyes to see what was and the heart to grieve for what the present state offers. This is spellbinding.

Björn said...

You paint such picture of hopelessness in the story of those persons.. everything's going down the drain.. There is an undercurrent of anger that I like a lot.

scotthastiepoet said...

Telling poem here Anna - you define what is going on very well... With Best Wishes Scott

Anonymous said...

Yes, this fate seems to be one written in the future of many towns here in the UK. Those out of town supermarkets are horrific - I know nobody that enjoys them. And, if you are not part of a family with children, buying large packs of food ends up being a ridiculous waste of money and food.

I'll get off my soap box now. Thank you for this - a great piece.

Martin said...

Decay and morbidity create some strange kind of attraction but who would really like to live there? I don't know anything about spatial planning in the UK but I guess if politics really wanted trends like this one could be stopped. Enjoyed your poem despite of its sad topic : )

Truedessa said...

So sad when the heart of a town slowly loses it's beat to greed. I think you capture deep feelings in "This Place"

The Bizza said...

You paint a sad portrait of urban blight; a scene all too familiar, unfortunately. Well-written poem that really immerses the reader in the decay of this world.

kaykuala said...

The price of progress. But along the way the gap needs to be addressed. Towns folks may have to put up with all the inconveniences. A transition is always associated with chaos! Nicely Anna!


Steve King said...

You paint a wonderful scene, Anna, giving us detail after detail, showing glimpses of several distinct individuals who also bear the marks of time. Very nice work.
Steve K.

Anonymous said...

You painted this so well! Thanks for taking us inside all those heads. :)

Beachanny said...

What a realistic picture you paint. This is happening everywhere - drugs, disease, sloth, a greater separation of wealth, the run to the suburbs, the lack of a cohesive city center governed by people who care, who have roots and pride in the city. My heart bleeds as the scene comes to life before me. Fine writing.

^.^ said...

i remember Winter 1999 in Victoria, BC, Canada ... the sea gull's cries almost drove me out of my mindevery morning ... and the smell of wood fires made me so horny every morning ... and the ocean talked to me every morning about being angry and still stay sane ...

Abhra said...

Such vivid portrayal that it made me forget that I am reading poetry and it looked like screen writing. Also it made me feel sad at the same time and connect to your emotions. Very well done.

ds said...

Too many small towns are dying thanks to small-minded officlals and the invasion of overlarge box stores…But I was entranced by "her" story and "his" (Sin Free in his pocket). So well done. Thank you.

Sumana Roy said...

you have painted the plight of those whose hearts bleed very realistically..great job...

Locomente said...

Very sad depiction...
And it is disturbing...

Brian Miller said...

far too many of those town centres are dying...main streets dried up....and vacant...we see that here too...they are trying to revive. to entice business but....

Ronald Shields said...

A sad, gritty and stark story told in a wonderful poem. Many towns and cities in the US are/have suffered the same fate...I love the way you tell this story by focusing on the people who are also abandoned in the march of so-called progress.

Anonymous said...

A powerful write. You capture the sorrow so well!

Anonymous said...

Anna this so vivid both emotionally and sensually. I can feel smell see and taste the agony of your words. Brilliant work love those closing lines.

I can't remember that I told you but I have a prompt site now

Sherry Blue Sky said...

You have captured the downslide so well, Anna....I am just back from OUR "uptown" which is a few streets of empty covered over shopfronts........depressing and not likely to improve any time soon. You caught so many wonderful details........I could see it all clearly.

Heidi said...

So very sad, dear Anna. You have a way with words that makes me feel like your poem is an ocean, and I'm riding the waves. Masterful.

Helena said...

Exquisite. A real insight into the dilapidation of towns and their inhabitants.

I'm glad you mentioned the dog poop just being left there - it is one of the few things in life that gets my goat!

Friko said...

What a sad, hopeless, despairing picture you paint of so many town centres.

I sincerely hope this is not all there is and that your characters are figments of your flourishing imagination for the most part.

Beate said...

Great picture and amazingly written! I'm so sad, too, that so many towns are dying, it's hard to watch.