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I miss the old St Pancras

Hiding in the archway from the rain

The darkness, walls embedded

With the soot of a million trains

 

The newspaper stands’ patina

The noise, deisel fumes, dust

‘Lend us 50p mister?’

Seats all plastic and rust

 

The new station is clean and tidy

Well policed, welcoming, smart

But it’s lost some if its character

And replaced it with modern art

 

I miss the old St Pancras

The gritty, noir place of my youth

Today I closed my eyes on the platform

And returned there for a moment or two.

 

I was lucky enough to be in London on Thursday, a trip I make periodically for work. Whiling away some time waiting for a train I tried to recall the ‘old’ St Pancras, the one I remember from exciting trips as a teenager and early work trips. The poem pretty much wrote itself over a coffee.

(c) Chris Johnson 2018

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She lives in the void,
the gap between awake and asleep.
Don’t disturb the muse
with questions or mundane concerns,
leave her to think,
to dream ,
to inspire.

(C) Chris Johnson 2016

 

Rain rattles against dark window panes.

Commuters curse as buses splash legs.

Late workers empty city centre car parks

and complain to themselves that traffic’s still bad.

The city empties for a moment, awaiting the time

when the action starts again,

at night when all is dark…

 

In corners, secret meets and dangerous buys;

drugs, sex, weapons – all available for a price

if you know where to go, if you know who to ask

anything is available in this night time town.

A different economy, a different world,

The nocturnal, the lost, those working by choice

at night, when all is dark…

 

A bell splits the night, synthetic sounds.

Scalding coffee gulped down with under-done toast,

bleary eyed bus passengers on mobile phones

take back control of the city. These streets

fill with the ambitious, the busy, the well dressed and keen.

For the next ten hours or so, the nocturnal sleep

until night, when all is dark…

 

(c) Chris Johnson 2016

 

Thanks so much to Michelle for the prompt and title for this poem.

In a hotel room a man sits alone.

Head in hands, crying quietly to himself.

Kisses blown down the wire to the love of his life,

after bed time stories read over the phone.

 

He thinks about a drink, almost heads to the bar,

instead, takes out his laptop, works in the near dark.

Heading for promotion, career’s upward arc,

and he won’t have to travel so near and far.

 

(c) Chris Johnson 2016

Between here and nowhere
There is a sign
It marks a crossroads
That no-one uses
It says ‘Gallows Seat’
A poetic name
For the place where
So many died.

Forgotten now, overgrown
Graves without stones
No church in sight
For here lie the bones
Of the convicted and poor
Who danced at the end of the rope

And beneath the ground
Beneath the road
Decaying, forgotten there lie
The mortal remains
Of a man, much maligned
With a stake through his heart
And the lemon in his mouth

For between here and nowhere
Is where we put
The people we want to forget
The ones we hide
The ones who scare
Outsiders, criminals, the ill

‘Not in my back yard!’ We shout
About HS2, the Tram, new homes
And it’s nothing new, it’s always been
That where we want these things
Is between here and nowhere
Somewhere we’ve never heard about
Nowhere that we want to be.

 

(c) Chris Johnson 2016