Brighton

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BRIGHTON

Brighton, Bright town, my town at 4am,

I bump into a six foot four gnome

striding his way home from an African wedding,

for which he had fashioned

two silver rings from two silver forks

and he stroked his pointy ginger beard as we walked,

his orange suit glowing in the misty orange light,

his green tie clashing in dazzling fashion,

eloquent, intelligent and ever so polite,

we talked about suchlike and so-on, with

neither of us promising to meet another night.

Brighton, Bright town, my town at 10am

and the old Chinese woman* walks towards the wall

on which she sat for three years or more,

day in, day out, with a dark blue umbrella

to shade from both the rain and the sun,

‘til the new owners ousted her ‘call from God’

by putting in its place a pointed picket fence,

her dream now buried under newly laid slabs,

their mortgage safe from unwanted scabs

and she sighs as she walks on the other side,

worrying.

 

Brighton, Bright town, my town at 1pm

and the beautiful people emerge,

blinking against the sun,

young guns posing and slip of things preening,

dressed up in their everday finest,

a basket weave of colour, they wind through the Laines,

dodging the London grockles late off the train,

who plough a path to the Brighton pier

or the Palace Pavilion for a regal dominion,

and a watch-the-world-laze-about in its rambling grounds

listening to a sitar, or a gee-tar, or a one man band man,

singing Johnny in the hope of some Cash.

Brighton, Bright town, my town at 3pm

kiddies paddle out the pebbles

stuck between their icy toes,

while mum and dad lobster up,

give up their daily niggles

with a deep breath of sweet doughnut air,

and the buskers count pennies,

or if they’re lucky pounds,

tossed their way by the kindly crowds

who’ve strolled past finger clicking,

mind humming with the brave new sounds.

 

Brighton, Bright town, my town at 6pm

and the old man makes his way home*,

his life in two filthy carrier bags –

love letters, a pack of cards,

his mother’s picture in a silver frame,

and his medal from World War Two…

his eyes down past the Wetherspoons crowd

who roll out tall stories from their nicotine cloud

their ruddy complexions cracked into a grin

at the long legged lovelies who

gazelle to the gym.

 

Brighton, Bright town, my town at 8pm

Our lady in the west laments her iron frame,

as starlings waltz their evening adieu,

the pastel sky feathering epic poetry

for lovers idling along the prom,

hand in hand, their night long planned…

…while the thump thump pulses

from the pubs and hidden quarters

of rock clubs, dance clubs,

theater, komedia,

pole swinging, jazz singing,

mind slamming, partying

of the old school rockers

and the new age hippies,

and the Goths and the Geeks

and the Arty and the Quirky,

and the Indies and the Emos

and the crisp white shirts tucked in safe beige chinos,

and the Nutters and the Knitters,

and the Trannies and the Grannies,

and the Gays and the Straights,

and the In towners, Out of towners,

down from the Eastend-ers,

“Just here for the weekenders!”

“We’re going out on a benders!”

They’ll all remember

this day

in the wonderful

Bright town…

OUR TOWN

BRIGHTON

* The old Chinese woman, like everyone else in these pages, was real. After reciting this poem, someone came up to tell me she had died just a few months after they pulled ‘her’ wall down.

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