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  You are @ HomeAdults Poetry

Poetry

Source: Adults

Author: Trevor Maynard

Title: person under the train incident

person under the train incident

Tom is an optimist

both on the grand scale and the miniature

like us all, he was in shock by the events of 9/11

but still he was able to propose that all events

even atrocious ones

would lead the world forward to a better place

such as the time when the sugar ran out at work

he said forgoing such sweetness in his tea

would make life all the healthier

such as the time when he took the losing

of his keys as a sign

that a person should be aware of all life

and not sleepwalk through their day

and such as

when a Brazilian was shot in error by the police

on the Underground

he proposed the theory thatLondon

had been a pressure valve

that this terrible event had pierced the

hysteria of prejudice

revealing it only to be only skin deep

that responsibility for guilt lay not only with the police, but ourselves, the public,

who in our ordinariness had cried out in

blind vengeance for a quick result,

that we had given them the trigger

and now learning our lesson

we step back to rationality and to humanity

and we chose to stop this from ever

ever happening again

yes, Tom could find something positive in everything

in everyone

even me

but i could see the faces in the windows

of the carriage

none showing concern

only a mundane bitterness

an agonising concern for the coming delay

a feeling of… for Christ’s sake get on with it!

i could read their lips

(literally

Tom had taught me as a child

because his brother was hard of hearing

an opportunity, mused Tom, for us all

to learn another language)

this is an example of what people were saying

-

Man; broad and bald, bespectacled and moustachioed – clean chin. “There’s always something, whether it be leaves on the line or the wrong kind of snow. We thought it would get better after British Rail, but now I would welcome back the old nationalized railway, even though Maggie Thatcher is a hero of mine!”

Woman; broad and curled, bespectacled and with heavy foundation. “Don’t get me wrong, but I loved her too. Better than this squirming lying lot. But I am sure life is now more pressured. Since the ‘eighties. We want success and success is only measured in money. We’ve gone too American. There’s no sense of community anymore!”

Boy; hooded and wraithlike, earphones leaking Eminen then Abba. “It weren’t like that. Me Gran told me in the ‘fifties, there was rations and rapes, but you never ‘eard ‘bout the latter. It weren’t all sunshine; kids died of TB. Me Gran says today is always the best day to be alive no matter how shadey.”

Girl; long locks scraped back, showing a tattoo on her hip. “Selfish I say. My uncle was a tube driver and knocked one down. Got counselled, and was fine, then another jumper leapt. That fucked him up. They never think. And look, there’s hundred of us on this train, the bastard didn’t think through the consequentials!”

The four converse (a polite reportage)

“Consequences”

“I know!”

“No manners these kids.”

“She was making a joke!”

“I blame Yob Culture.”

“’oo yer callin’ a yob?”

“Someone call the police!”

“Like that’ll do any good.”

“A clip ‘round the ear never did me any harm.”

“And you call us yobs?”

“You’ve no respect for yourself.”

“We’ve no respect for you.”

“Little Oiks!”

“Tosser!”

“Police! Call the police!”

“Whore!”

Me, forty-something, cappuccino splash on my specs and chinos. “Maybe they killed another Mexican.”

The four stared, as did the rest of the carriage

I had meant to say Brazilian

it just came out wrong

like a bullet from my mouth

it could not be taken back.

i wonder what Tom would say

probably something like

at least this situation got people talking

people were now viscerally aware

how they were not safe from the state

or the terrorists, or each even each other

at least it woke them from their soporific commute

he would say, an optimist losing his grip on reality

at least this day is different from the rest

yes, Tom would see the bright side

if only he hadn’t stopped dead in our tracks

a person under the train incident

(first published in the collection Love, Death and the War on Terror, available at www.trevormaynard.com, or www.amazon.co.uk). Also available on Kindle.



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