Thursday, November 16, 2006

Getting High

They’re building the city up –
steel rods soaring on the end of a crane
jackhammers thumping –
That’s what they’re thinking –
They’re building the city up
that’s what keeps them going when they dream who they are –
They do it first for their families
and then so they can shout the next round
but they have to be someone too –
They're building the city up
To her they’re just hurting her head
That’s what her heroin mind
shouts through the morning haze
She screams back at them to shut up
first blindly as she passes the pugilist's cafe
then straight at them
when bearings are zeroed
from outside the Silver Screen
She could be twenty-five or forty
She doesn’t care about anything except the noise
Soon she’ll have more on her mind
but the noise is cutting through
everything just now
She shoves her hands deep down
the back of her black bicycle shorts
and screams that she’ll show them her arse!
If they don’t shut up she’ll show them her arse and they can kiss it!
The workmen laugh and look at each other
with that expression that says ‘not another one’ –
these poor suburban boys
have been learning a few things
since they started working ‘The Cross’
One shouts ‘go on then, you slut’ down at her
She just screams more obscenities and
starts asking cafe customers
for a cigarette then a light
Some people laugh
some half-laugh embarrassed
others bury their faces
in their café lattes and cappuccinos
After a while standing with her leg cocked on a bollard
smoking her fag and howling at the sky
it’s time to make for the methadone clinic
The workmen pound more steel into their leviathan
more caffeine goes round
and the world keeps getting higher.

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