NOT HAVE TO GO.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
BOYS AND GIRL IN LONDON IN 1950S. Photograph of pub the poem takes place in when closed up in 1950s.

Submitted: October 03, 2013

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Submitted: October 03, 2013

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Elephant&Castle1948z.jpg

You climbed through a broken window
at the back of the deserted pub
and you and Dick

and Ingrid
went
into the gloomy bar room

with dust and chairs
and round tables
some broken

and empty glasses
and bottles
on shelves

and Dick went
behind the bar
and said

what are you having?
large beer and a gin
for the lady

you said
sorry mate no beer
and we're right out of gin

Dick said
shame
you said

Ingrid wandered
around the tables anxiously
do people come in here now?

no been closed for years
Dick said
although some one's

been here
going by
the broken window

he added
Ingrid ran her finger
across a dusty table

could do with a good clean
she said
I think my granddad

used to drink here
said Dick
I remember waiting outside

with a bottle of lemonade
and  packet of crisps
I've done that

Ingrid said
what waited outside of here?
Dick said

no not here
she said
another pub

the Duke of Wellington mostly
never done it
you said

ain't done what?
Dick asked
waited outside pubs

you said
lucky you then
Dick said

waited for hours once
Ingrid said
mum was away

and Dad was in there so long
that someone
asked about me

and he came out
and dragged me home
all annoyed

as if I'd complained
you gazed at her
waiting for the next comment

about her old man
but she didn't
say anything

but you knew
what he most probably did
when he got her home

she looked at the windows
with words on them
but they were back to front

and hard to read  
Dick held up a bottle
with a blue label

some sort of beer
he said
shall I open and have a swig?

no
said Ingrid
probably taste horrible

all beers taste horrible
Dick said
he put the top

of the bottle
against a bottle opener
behind the bar

nailed to the bar top  
and yanked it open
and smelt it

have a sniff
he said
and he brought the bottle

around the bar
and you had a sniff
smells all right

you said
Ingrid sniffed
yuk

she said
smells like my dad's breath
when he gets near me

Dick had a quick swig
and pulled a face
yes horrible

he said
he put the bottle on the bar
and you all walked

around the bar room
then there a bang from upstairs
what the heck was that? ?

Dick said quietly
tramp
you said

tramp? Ingrid said anxiously
let's go
yes let's be off

Dick said
and so you all tiptoed
as fast as you could

through to the back  
and one by one
out the window

making sure
not to cut yourselves
on the broken glass

once outside
Dick went off
down the subway

to his home
and you and Ingrid
walked along

the New Kent Road
in the late afternoon
she brushing off her dress

to get rid of the dust
and you rubbed your hands
together with spit

to clean them
the smell of fish
and vinegar

from the fish and chips shop
the passing traffic
she talked of going home

before her old man
got back
so she could wash

and clean up
her eyes
dark olives shining

and tearful
you said
tomorrow we can go

to the cinema
and see that cowboy film
I told you about

yes
she said softly
if I'm allowed out

and you crossed the road
and walked down
Meadow Row

wanting her to stay
and play and not
have to go.


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