Swansea Railway Station
Welcome to Swansea Croeso i Abertawe
A commuter WH Smiths, un petite boulangerie,
A classy glass enclosed ticket office with plenty of desks
The Grand Hotel with its vibrant ground floor bar
The Park Lane Club
Bendy Metro buses with TV screen updates
Special, Super, Diamonds, International
And down at your feet, a line confronting the bard
Ambition is Critical - well, here’s my critique:
Pigeons at home and uncovered platforms
A faux-langerie and an overpriced Smugs
A ticket office that is always closed
Don’t step outside:
The Grand a mass of façade weathered and grey and aged
Like a gossip of pensioners wearing fluorescent socks in the post office on pension day
The Park Lane Club salacious not salubrious
A happy ending massage amid Mos Eisley surroundings
The METROFTR – the bus of a vowel-less future
Unlike the TARDIS inside it is smaller than a regular bus
Time-tabled secrets never to be told
And the news and the weather on the TV screens is three months old.
The bus stop a shelter for the street drinkers
The junkies and the alkies
And the criminally inclined
The bloodied of hand and the addled of mind
Special Vat, Super T, Diamond White, Carlsberg Export
Ambition is Critical? Here’s my irony’s retort:
Ambition is Critical, it’s on life support
Pull the plug and write it off, it’s just not worth the effort
The Bus Stop crew, Dylan Thomas and me
We’ll just sit here and get pissed
Come here friendly bombs, Betjeman picked the wrong town
Please flatten the bits that the Luftwaffe missed.
AMBITION IS CRITICAL – Dylan Thomas noted Swansea as the ‘Graveyard of Ambition’ and this engraving is Swansea Council’s response. Anagrammatically, some ‘CLAIM IT’S A BIT IRONIC’
SMUGS – In satirical magazine Private Eye, WH Smiths is referred to as WH Smugs
METRO FTR – The so-called BendyBus service. All have TV screens on board, and at some special bus stops too. They display the time, and the news from 19th December 2009.
LUFTWAFFE – The Germans bombed half of Swansea town centre during the war. The bit they bombed is now the nice bit, shopping centre, nice buildings etc.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
A 99-word micro-fiction, by me.
W. told me to think about ‘small private worlds’: bubbles that float alongside the rest of existence for moments or for days or for weeks. Indiscriminate air-pockets sustaining transitory lives – temporarily stuck in departure lounges, broken-down cars, tired domesticities – until the oxygen runs out, or the membrane is pierced by external well-wishing or malevolent destruction.
And I remember when we used to be – intimately, microcosmically, and all-too briefly – you and me: coffee, cigarettes, cider, cassette tapes and cash-strapped. But now if you call, you’re like oil in my glass of water, suspended in an impossible, unforgiving reluctance to mix.