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Sputnik

June 3, 2016

 

In this one, I’m recalling a time in the ‘80s when I worked as a social housing team leader in a notorious inner-city area. “Sputnik” was a type of hashish peddled in the UK back then.

 

SPUTNIK

 

A crescent,

scabrous breasts of wanton concrete.

.

Political posters flap,

the tattered garments of a ravaged whore.

.

Dark shades,

bomber-jackets,

caps back-to-front:

.

“Sputnik you want? Sputnik you want?”

.

Banknotes crackle and packets are passed,

orange-rimmed packets of dreams.

.

Blades in back pockets.

.

Do they ever raise their gaze

above this flabby grey torso

to follow an airliner

in and out of clouds

and over the hills beyond?

.

Doubt it.

.

Paul Beech

.

Copyright © Paul Beech 2016

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From → General, Poetry

4 Comments
  1. You’ve certainly captured the bleakness of it all. For me, Sputnik will always be that first spacecraft put into orbit by the Russians in the late 1950’s, when I was still in grammar school. A most exciting event….

    • Thanks, Cynthia. Yes, how the Russians’ beeping satellite captured our imaginations back in ’57. It was pretty dreadful, nearly thirty years later, on my way to a pie shop one lunchtime, having to squeeze through a bunch of pushers peddling their foul wares on the street: “Sputnik you want, Sputnik you want…” My time as a social housing manager in a high-rise jungle where crime was rife has left dark memories.

      Paul

  2. maureen Weldon permalink

    Paul.
    What a scary and awful world, the world of drugs and crime and all that goes with it. A very powerful poem.

    All my love Maureen x

    • Maureen, a murky world it was indeed, surreal in retrospect. Yet plunge into it I did daily, not in fear despite the risks, but with pride in my team, determined we should make a difference for the under-privileged of the area. Threatened I was several times, actually held at knife-point on one occasion. Yet my luck held and I came through it all unscathed with a bunch of memories, good and bad. I shall never forget the team meetings I held in a café – the toasted teacakes were on me!

      Very much love,

      Paul xxx

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