They stand, the two of them, enveloped. Their bodies the segments of an orange before
ripped apart by delicate, hungry fingertips.
It is rush hour in Brixton and as she leans against this
unsteady machine, he holds her as if her limbs might fracture and fall
and land at their feet,
as if they might become neighbours to the newspapers and trodden gum that have
made their home there, dirty, discarded, at ease.
Silhouette quietly nestled into his frame, sharing shadows
she, is elsewhere.
Gaze transfixed by a small being in front. A tiny entity that holds all of her undying
attention. Her lips bitten down to their core,
skin replaced by yearning and fear and a tenderness that you could touch.
The child’s tangerine lips waver hesitantly and then burst open, releasing a giggle
that sounds like fallen dust in sunlight, if it had a sound.
The space between them becomes a mirror, so much that the infant’s mother
looks like she has just learnt the definition of the word ‘envy’.
The tube falls into the station, and the passengers are squeezed out:
a frenzy of rushed beings in their most natural, narcissistic state.
From across the platform in rush hour, the train leaner is a mother.
And in her arms, oblivious, her lover.
perv etiquette is:
do not maintain eye contact
do not intently stare
do not press eyes down bodies
do not breathe moist puffs onto cheeks
possibly small, like twigs
but we are not kindling
to light your dick ablaze
we hold this pole for balance
a hand isn't naked
refrain. don't caress.
a chest is covered
brushing it is prohibited
i will tear your
bright orange tshirt
chewing the cotton
spitting it out onto the tracks
where i see you wait
chest bare but sweaty
chin up you dog
this is goodge st.
mind your step between the man and the escape route.
The urban legend going round the mummy club
On a tube
Breastfeeding her baby, 5 months old, under her t shirt.
Not tits out
No feminist flags waving
No brazen cocky smile.
Just a hungry baby and a mother made by nature
And some milk
"Put em away Love", slurs an ugly man halfway down the carriage.
The other passengers are divided.
Some sink deeper into their headphones, under their broadsheets.
The others are ready for revolution, sit up straighter and plan an attack phrase or a protective move.
But this is what she's been waiting for since she so triumphantly became a successful, proud breastfeeder.
With a wet plucking noise she pulls her baby from the nipple where he was so contentedly feeding, where his warm little head was halfway to milky coma dreamland.
And she holds him aloft, her grip is confident and full. No one is afraid she will drop him, but he does not want to be there.
And in the stark light of the carriage, arms and legs chilly and free in the air he begins to flail them about. His voice throws out mews to every window of the carriage, turning into scratchy shouts as his protest gets stronger.
Until the baby, in a blue furry jumper, little bear ears for cute effect, is screaming.
Red faced, and with tonsils and tongue vibrating in the storm of his voice.
Arms and legs swimming frantically, looking for the bank of the river where warm mummy sits.
And over the storm, mummy looks over at the swaying, squinting man and shouts,
"WOULD YOU PREFER THIS?"
In one movement she cradles the yelling blue cub, shushing and quietly speaking to him as only a mother can, offering her nipple to his mouth until his round fuzzy head is bobbing and his mouth quietly busy resuming his meal.
"Or this? " She looks over at him.
The man mutters to himself and looks away. At the next stop he gets off the train, tripping down the step onto the platform.
The mother releases the challenge in one large breath.
She looks up at the two young men sat in front of her.
They are smiling, staring in awe. Choking and speechless one of them starts to applaud her.
Clapping her and shaking his head, his mate joins in.
On the tube,
on the Jub-
Out of ten - nine,
or maybe eight,
if not seven.
Tube ain't heaven
more like hell,
I'd give it six
out of ten,
no, five, man,
four, or less,
three, it's a mess
two I'd give,
one, oh, no,
can't breath now,
of ten, ouch,
let me out,
let me out!
This morning I was filled with an inconsolable hurt
And I noticed everything on my way to work…
The man in the grey coat reading his kindle
The blonde lady telling her friend about how she was newly single
I saw the small schoolboy leap on the train
I could tell he didn’t want to be late for school again
I became aware of the fed up look on the train drivers faces
They looked as though they were exhausted of coming to these places
I observed a handsome young man give the old lady a seat
Everyone smiled and thought, isn’t he sweet.
I grimaced when the barrier decided to trap the man in the suit
He cried and complained that he should have taken a different route.
I noticed everyone but nobody noticed me…
Because the pain I felt made me as still as can be…
Blue patterned seats
Between cold yellow poles
Strangers seated with eyes
That never catch their souls
Bodies pressed against bodies
Heat and oxygen shared
To remain in one’s solitude
Is the universal prayer
Or feet step on feet
Apologies never catered
Words don’t ever speak
People with the most in common
Those standing, those seated
Every one of them human
Every one of them beating
This unity shared
Though never acknowledged
Has its own kind of beauty
In tube strike city life is a pity
you always feel unprepared.
Even if you are prepared, you lose.
You can shut up or you can moan,
but you can't choose.
You can only mind your gaps
and watch your nightmare relapsed.
Your bus is late, and late are you,
and eyes of paradise are blue.
You "fuck" this "shithole"
with anger inside.
And it fucks you back
with angel smile.
Sat on a train
and I gaze along
face after face
that all share
this same moment
in time and space
and yet they're
all so vacant,
staring into space
and time bears
cause its the same thing
day in day out,
all of us sat there,
listening to our
as we make our way
unaware of the tracks sound
as we're shuttled around
and I'm dumbfounded
by how wisdom
is found in the loss of interaction,
sat across a
man in a suit
clocking up percentages
and in a fraction,
I've took stock
and mocked up
a story for him
through his action ,
this one man
of many in this
age of distraction
Until this traction
created by volt-age
comes to a halt
as this train stops
at the station,
my station in sight,
this stationary moment
of insight interrupted
as doors open,
my form plateaus
as I step onto
train of thought
for another one,
I Journey on.
You can literally manufacture it in a chemistry lab;
There are formulae and measurements of hormones that add up
To this supposedly tangible entity
A nicely brewed test tube
Of elaborately named chemicals
The very thing that makes you tremble in your skin,
That has caused wars and set ships assail
Confined to a liquid in a glass container