Home > Poetry > S.R.O.

S.R.O.

Standing-room only
on the threshold of new life.
They circle around
in these eddies of doting,
these mothers and spastic aunties,
clucking their goo-goo morphemes
over a basinet of confused giggles.
You don’t know what’s in store for you!

Standing-room only
in the assembly-halls
where the individual child is homogenised
and minimised,
and paralysed with a fear of contravention
the contraband of thought
lays dark in the hidden whispers of the back row.
You never speak but from the shadows.

Standing-room only
in the queue for the job
where you move
from your seat on the bus
to the seat in the office
in a meaningless shuffling of A4 and staples,
a homage to as many fallen trees as fallen lives.
The lunch-hour is where you cry over your croissant.

Standing-room only
in the packed temple of cousins you’d never met,
where an ‘I do’ passes for a promise
and the flowing rice feeds no-one
but the indifferent sparrows,
and she wears the white of purity
on an impure history,
and you wear the black of mourning
for a life you will no longer lead.
When the bouquet was thrown,
I kept my hands at my sides.

Standing-room only
on the beach
where the tide of your life
ebbs with the kelp
and the fisherman’s catch,
the industry that saps time
from the nine to five
and a pittance in your pocket.
The landlord waits at your front-door.

Standing-room only
round the rosewood box,
the sighs and tears
where he lies,
the years frozen in a capsule
that can not remedy the inevitable
in a suit you never wore in life.
The pastor speaks as if he knew you!

Standing-room only
before the divine altar of ages
where angels congregate
on the eternal doorstep,
if that is your faith,
or into the pages of our own private heroes,
where history is all we have,
and a name,
a reputation,
the memory that surpasses decay.
What does your name mean,
child who sits alone…
in a blue room?

(2011)

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