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Poem for the Page: Broken Tube

A piece I wrote after a lovely tube journey home one evening.


The stalling between stations

The engine’s failed momentarily

The driver announces and apologises

Broken transport is what we’re sitting in…

The carriage’s packed with faces of disappointment

But some seem not to notice.

A homeless man is wondering where he’ll sleep next

Sits alone because his odour puts off others

He’s getting off the next stop

Begging cup ready and a small bag full of tissue packets and a whole lot of notes

Hands them out on the Bakerloo line in exchange for some change

Can’t knock his hustle

A woman opposite me is immersed in a romance novel

Tears form in her eyes, the man loves the woman in this book she’s reading

Unlike her last love… he cheated

Escaping to fantasy responding to what she wants in reality

A middle-aged man in a suit who works in the city sitting next to me

Recall him jumping on escaping the clutches of the closing doors

Scuffs all on what look to be brand new shoes

Must have been running before he came below surface

Organising his reports in his briefcase

He then begins to stare at his wedding ring

He takes it off, stares at it, puts it back on, takes it off again

He then puts it inside his suit pocket.

He cleans his glasses and feels his naked ring finger.

He wants to get home ASAP, needs to try save his marriage.

A man stands by the doors with a lager in his hand and medals on his lapel;

Recently home from war but struggling to adapt back, to day to day life.

Going to his flat alone, coming from the job centre

Ain’t spoken to any friends or family since he came home.

Next to him is a young mother with a screaming child, she can’t bare the noise he makes

As she leans against the door, she regrets keeping him on the quiet

Silently wishing she got an abortion…

She just wanted some fun and a little bit of love…

She ended up with a baby

No helping hand round to help her with the nappies.

And there he goes, screaming his lungs out.

He doesn’t like the fact he’s being stared at now, so he screams even louder.

Not knowing who his dad is.

Seeing his mum always sad.

But he’s too young to understand.

I look at my reflection in the opposite window, stare bleakly in my own eyes.

Soaking up the surrounding souls

Get lost for a few moments thinking about the scars of life.

Guess we all trying to reach a destination

Can’t predict the twists, turns, delays and who we travel with

Some are nearing the end of the line; some are waiting for the next stop

To just carry on

As long as we try to enjoy the journey

Crazy how so many of us are trying to reach heights

And part of the sacrifice means we spend a lot of time underground

The driver announces he fixed the problem. We all look up happily.

We can now move ahead

Too bad he can’t fix all the issues in the carriages.

 The broken tube resumes. However, it’s now the only thing that isn’t broken.