These poems were written for the third assignment of my Open University module, A215 Creative Writing. The prompt was ‘crowded places’
Whenever I wait on a London street
(for a friend, at the spot we’d arranged to meet)
I lower my eyes now and then to see
What shoes adorn the scurrying feet
Of strangers who rush either side of me.
The trainers and boots don’t interest me
– comfort and safety are clearly the key,
bought for utility rather than statement.
I look for the killer heels, the red and gold lamé –
the shoes that shout “Look!” as they traverse the pavement.
Black and brown footwear make their own beat:
ambling or running; some sluggish, some fleet.
Then into my view steps a pair of pink Hush Puppies –
Crepe soles, blue laces, green socks and big feet –
I need to know who’s wearing these lovelies.
A babble of schoolchildren blocks my view
But an elderly lady, as if on cue,
Stops suddenly, parting the crowd around me
allowing a glimpse of ..”Crikey it’s you!”
Helen is standing there, grinning at me.
She’d seen the shoes and knew I’d love them
but wouldn’t be brave enough to wear them.
Knowing my penchant for admiring footwear,
She didn’t think twice but went in and bought them
– cheap in the sale – cos I wouldn’t dare.
She told me to stop ogling shoes on the street
“You know what you like, and you owe it your feet
To wear gorgeous footwear, not wish that you could”
I knew she was right and I wanted a treat.
Those killer red heels never looked so good.
Good pub, he said; they serve Thai food.
Oriental tranquility? A lost hope in this raucous city.
The TV‘s muted: the music’s too loud.
Discussions merge – home, heartache, holidays.
Old men grumble over stout as they gaze
At shrill girls – tall heels, short drinks, all sniggers and shrieks.
Young men at the bar shout jibes at the geek.
Too noisy to talk without repetition: two rooms of echoing conversation.
Mixed accents, tones, language and pitches – a discordant symphony of vocal riches.
We eat quickly, then retreat; there’s audible respite on the busy street.