Just Up From Prison
oh now I don’t need
any music. oh now, and I’m driving
through stretches of morning
to work. the sun baking bread
on the sill of each
passing house window off
over the gardens and behind
all the bus stops. leaving the city
through an exhausted grey
stubble-light industry; five
o’clock shadow and fields
on this ash Wednesday morning.
and not fields, disused land
and more housing estates,
built cheap and close
to the motorway.
business estates, industrial
estates, short strips
of dead supermarkets, discount
stores sprouting with the brightness
of poisonous rot.
creeping wild ivy
which hangs along fencing,
thriving on traffic
and bunching like fists
on a stick. second hand
car lots. petrol stations.
all this is music enough.
the thing is – there’s a child now.
and he and the mother; they’re going
to get married. and all of us
at the age, finally, where that might
have even really been the plan.
can you imagine? having kids;
getting married? and sure
there’s divorces, but children –
those last. a bit like tattoos.
we sit on canalbanks – we are down
outside porterhouse, just up the way
from the prison – in lockdown a popular
spot. we drink beers together, glowing
as the sky inhales cigarettes. piss
in the bushes. we’ve known each other
a very long time, gotten on in that casual
way where he ignores when I say
something stupid. I say something
stupid now, about him getting married –
about how I’m sorry
about how it happened. he tells me
politely he’s happy. that he wouldn’t
do anything different. and somehow
he means it and everything – wild.