HOPE STREET (Christmas Eve in the City) by Phil Barling

If Hope Street exists
it is here
in the stinky navel of the city
where young women cry,
their girly giggles gone
with the unforgiving night
Wiping away their sad mascara trails
of sorrow
with broken heels & promises
they fall into the arms
of baffled bum fluff constables
whose radios crackle
their chorus of concern

If Hope Street exists
it is here
in the Saturday night contract with chaos,
of tattooed queues of suburban wannabees
with their oxygen tank phones and magazine dreams
It is here in the florid faces of sad eyed supermarket Santas
wishing these brats would disappear
It is here
in the belligerent beery-mouthed husbands
out on the town, on the razz,
standing alone now, like desperadoes waiting
for the 3.10 from Yuma
blinking in the cracked neon dawn
wishing they'd gone home
when the women they ‘tried it on’ with
told them to

If Hope Street exists
it is here
where desire is extinguished by regret
where salvation is delivered at the station
by rows of black chariots,
where home seems like a good idea
It is here
where the freedom of Friday, the woweeee wild weekend
is reduced to making pledges
to yourself
to saving your last cigarette
as a goodnight kiss to your dreams
only to find that the light has been stolen
long gone
like the last bus
from Hope Street


0 #4 Gillian Popplewell 2021-12-08 08:21
Oh Phil! How i miss you and your writing.
This is you at your best when you are so descriptive and vivid.. You have painted a real picture with words here and I couldnt agree with all the previous comments more.
Keep doing what you do.
0 #3 Mike Cohen 2021-12-07 17:47
A scene painted by a latter day Bruegal in full colour
0 #2 John Keane 2021-12-06 23:24
This poem uses language to disorientate the senses, which Rimbeau stated was the essential mission of the poet.
0 #1 Julian Edge 2021-12-06 11:24
I really like this, the multi-sense vividness of the writing and the conceptual reaching for hope where even a sniff of it has left the building. Maybe it's just an old-fashioned weakness for chronology, but I think I'd like it even better with the second stanza first. (??) Thanks anyway!