Teesside

He dozes on the bus
half watches the passengers
getting on and off.
As they nash down the A19
the sun turns blood red
in the sky. The lights
of Teesside spread out
like jewels in an inky pool.
He gets off and shivers, the air’s colder;
he’s in the centre of shops and roads,
everyone knows where they’re going
except him. He thinks:
I should’ve had a plan,
money, been prepared,
but somehow he doesn’t care.
He heads for the nearest pub
and spend his last few coins
on pop and crisps.
There’s talk and music and fruit
machines. No-one bothers him.
At closing, Frankie’s mashed with tiredness.
He heads off to the nearest
motorway intersection, scrubby land
bushes, rubbish. Sits with his back
against a concrete strut, pulls
his knees up, hugging them –
falls asleep to the sound of cars.

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