it’s always there. a knife entices a tear in the skin. it rains. on rainy days we run for the underground. girl with a forklift face sells roses – gaunt commuters, handled with gloves. a brisk fatigue she cuts her thumb on. radio. youth. the wheedling dread of anthem. music to watch the world burn by. and i predict the pilly fear we’ll wake to, parched. roses. smell of roses. dirty things, and scuffed – the ripped insoles of ballet pumps. and impulse perfume. girlhood, cheap and brief. i shut my eyes. the staircase carries me downward. platform, the nodding effort of heads. concrete pressing my petering thought. and men who hold their phones like stethoscopes, close to the chest. a free sheet heckles the deficit. breath on my neck, and the pain we carry is childishly incurable, knowing we are neither private nor free. it rains. and when it rains we run for the overground, chemical headlong of evenings, a processed light that hangs around and clings to clothes. there is television, gym, television, binge, and everything else is made from obliteration and affront. it’s always there. train window flinging its fields at me, and i am filled with sad directionless tenderness. and i am filled by a drab grace that clutches straws and i have had it up to my ears with the scream that we suffer like a stone in the mouth. your filth, your fear, your blame. your shields and your needles, your hammers and spades. fuck it, the galloping wretchedness of age. failure, the idea of failure. our default crawl between life’s cracks. raincoat faces spit on the flammable penchant of minors, horsey beards, the spasmodic unwashed. but i shall fear no evil. it is their world. sky is working fire, a season’s goading sorceries. you know, they will not save us, right? and i am glad, and all is well.
Fran Lock is a dog whisperer and author of two poetry collections, Flatrock (Little Episodes, 2011), and The Mystic and the Pig Thief (Salt, 2014). She is the winner of the Ambit Poetry Competition 2014, and her poem Last Exit to Luton came third in the 2014 National Poetry Competition.