Friday, September 10, 2004

Birmingham (Part 3)

Senior citizens
Wander in a daze
Wondering how they found
Themselves on a film set
Whilst trying to buy a cup of tea
Business people
Huddle round laptops
Isn’t it great?
Now you can work in your lunch hour, too.
But what am I doing?
Writing poetry in my lunch hour.
That doesn’t count
In Birmingham.

A young couple gaze into
A holiday flight shop window
Somewhere the sun bursts through
The shop slowly rises from the ground
And heads South
Departing Birmingham

I thank you
Oh Street cleaners
I thank you
Young women
With tight jeans and cleavage
I thank you
Sock sellers
With TVs on your stalls
Showing the Italy-Korea game
I thank you
Natives of Birmingham

Twisting through the layers of building
What treasures can be found?
A builders hard hat
Circa 1977
(cue music – probably the Jam)
I sit and sip espresso
Beneath a brick-paved archway
Beneath two giant arching tents
It’s an eating and snack area
Croissant House
Café Giardino
Singapore Sam
Quizno’s Subs
Pizza Hut

Cram your duvets of flesh
Into those tight stretch pants
Birmingham heavies
You don’t care

Starbuck 1
Starbuck 2
Starbuck 3
Starbuck 4
Starbuck 5
How many Starbucks does it take
To make a Birmingham City Centre?

Answer Five
But the council have to want
To sell their souls.

Thank you Florence Wilkinson
For the wooden bench
Upon which I sit to sip
My Sprite in its cheery
Coca Cola cup

Have you a minute?
The girl asks
Will you commit
A monthly donation
To our new hospice?
Her eyes are piercing
Did they train you to do that?
I asked her later
And imagined her saying, Yes
And I told her
Best not overdo it

I haven’t been here for thirty years
I tell her
I hardly recognise the place
I’ve been away three years, she tells me
See that street? Those shops? All new.
See that office tower?
That wasn’t there ten minutes ago.
The speed of change
And I am different too
That’s the watchword
Here in Birmingham


Syl said...

Gives a wonderful feel for this place...whether Birmingham or many towns I've visited there. "duvets of flesh"...yikes, don't want to see it, but yeah, it's out there. Great phrase.

Roger Stevens said...

Yes, it's just a phrase Birmingham's going through...

Roger Stevens said...


Syl said...

Hah! silly man