A poem…ish about coming home

5.00am, Elizabeth Road.

“Alright, me duck, where you going?”
Saint Margaret’s bus station, please.
“Going anywhere nice?” she said.
Back to Ireland, back home.

“Ah, that is nice. Not much luggage.”
No, I travel light…

“Well so do I…
Them plastic shirt clips and dental floss,
wring your knickers out in the sink,
use the floss for a washing line.
Oh these bloody speed cameras,
they’ve hidden one under the bridge
by the Pingles, I didn’t get done,
but there’s plenty who have.”

5.35 am, Saint Margaret’s bus station, Leicester.

A Bangladeshi family, suitcases tied with string,
cardboard boxes, scribbled addresses.
A Rastafarian, smokes the dawn alight.
Black cabs rumble, street sweepers trundle,
Polish or Lithiuanian, fluorescing jackets,
Wind-blown coffee cups and take out wrappers,
Mind your head, stand clear of the luggage doors.
I wait for the next bus, nationally expressed.

Half way down the M1,
the apricot smut of dawn,
peels stars off the night
over Milton Keynes.
Congested motorway,
sleeping travellers.
40 miles per hour limits
blinking brake lights,
All the way to Dunstable.

Oh Dunstable,
thou unvisited town,
lacking rhymes
‘cept Constable,
which ne’er is spelt
as it sounds.

A phone chimes a heavy metal intro
We ignore the embarrassment.
It rings again. A brave soul answers.
‘Hello. Yes? Yes, you did leave your phone on the bus.
I’ll give it to the driver. Bye, ba, ba, bye.”

Luton Airport approaches,
Under a jaundiced turquoise sky
Easy Jet orange blockhouses,
I abhor those joyless warehouses.

Waiting, waiting, waiting…
The departures board relents
A hurried rush to gate 11 to wait
and wait again.

“Weather in Knock, a little damp…”
But when we land, Knock Airport
is a blasted heath of a place,
grey of palour and of hue.

12.05pm, a leaking bus shelter, Mayo.
Waiting, waiting, waiting…

The salient difference between National Express and Bus Eireann…
The former smells of piss, the latter of chips and sweat.

The driver lets me on with a year old ticket for a different route.
“Sure, sort it out when you get home.”

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