Slim gets off the no.3 bus
at the corner of Hastings and Main
-the corner of Desperate and Lost-
having travelled east on the 99 express,
his nose stuck in the feral stink
of some guy’s armpit,
wishing, not for the first time,
that he was six inches taller.
A country lyric twangs in his head
something about “the losing side of town”.
He surveys the wreckage all around him:
a guy with a raw scabrous face
a bundle of rags twitches in a doorway;
people are scurrying back and forth
like they’ve received a message
from an alien dispatcher
that the mother ship has landed,
and they can’t find a toothbrush;
further on in a laneway that smells of piss
a man and a woman, both dressed in black
with sweating raddled faces
sway back and forth shouting:
Fuck you! No! Fuck you!
in a profane loop.
Repartee, Slim says,
to no one in particular,
what an unexpected bonus.
This poem first appeared in The Galway Review
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