Thursday, 26 June 2014

Travel Beyond Automatic Barriers - A poem

Rammed on an endless platform -
Fighting for breadth of space and breath of air.
So many of us, 
All destined for somewhere...
All rammed.

And now herded.

Some doing witty, 
Some sitting pretty, 
Some working city,
Some living shitty.

What no seat in this heat?
For that woman and her load?
Of course not.
For heaven's sake young man -
Stand up here you toad!

The next station is Mornington Crescent.

Where I once disembarked and embarked all at the same time.
For just up the road, I did my first magazine work experience. 
Snooty lot they were. 
I hated it. 
Still I walked tall - even though I felt small. 


This station is Warren street. 
Change here for Victoria line.
Or not.

This train terminates at Kennington via Charing Cross.

Charing Cross where my eye catches the ad above a passengers 'juntering' head.
Perfume and hair care won't change your life, but it's a good place to start.
I need to think about that a whole lot more. Maybe I’ll go chestnut?
(And I have - and this ad is very clever).
Then my eye catches something else…
Oh please, men do play by the rules... skinny jeans for skinny legs.

This station is Tottenham Court Road. 
Change here for Central line.

Central line. Red like blood. A straight and narrow IV. Running through the heart of London.
Intravenous, like my hourly caffeine hit, just enough to fix each morning. 
To keep me alert to my personal daily grind.

Some doing witty, 
Some sitting pretty, 
Some working city,
Some living shitty.

Hey, soldier… 
Farewell Leicester square.
Hey soldier... so. So.  
So sombre.
Why is your face so...
Long. So...


And muggy.
Perhaps even thundery?
So oppressive.
Did you fight your last fight? 
Oh my good man. 
Put down your weapons. 
Put down your arms.
Put up your arms. 
Surrender to peace. 

Upon arrival, the last set of doors will not open. 
Why tell me that now?
It's simply stifling here.

Here is Bakerloo line. 
I'm dead on my feet. 
Been another crazy day.
Heading home now.
Can forget about everything.
Keep moving. 

Mainline train services.

The next stop will be Waterloo with its...
...Sunset smouldering. So very choked.
Kinks in the river beside the tracks and their trains.
Mechanical snakes winding out.
And winding home.

Some doing witty, 
Some sitting pretty, 
Some working city,
Some living shitty.

And winding home.
And my walk to the lane.
And my Life As It Is.

Just for a moment of course.

And back to the girls!
And back to travelling beyond automatic barriers of a different sort.

Although, where is my middle distance stare?
Have you seen it lately?
I can't seem to find it anymore.


Judith Kingston said...

Wonderfully evocative! I was on the tube with you there. I like the central line as the IV that feeds London. :)

Emily Tealady said...

Love this. I could feel the heat and the stifling air, and the hoards of people. Very descriptive and I loved the images you have created in my mind. Feel as if I have been on a journey myself.

Anonymous said...

This is fab Emma! So clever, it sums up tube travel just perfectly :-)

Emma Oliver said...

Thanks! Glad you think so.

Emma Oliver said...

Summer tube journeys can so be the (arm) pits.

Emma Oliver said...

Ah thanks Judith.