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Sunday, March 18, 2012


I became very good at shutting people out

by John Stiles

I became very good at shutting people out, sitting
In a park writing on the back of a Euronews ‘do not call’ list,
ignoring people around me, but not really ignoring.
Not really.

On a day I didn’t show at work, stopped by the security
guard at the British Library, is that a pen?
“Leave that on the ledge, you can purchase a pencil
at the desk for 36 p.”

Young students look up from their laptops, ipads, ipods,
Wired-up with headphones, ready to take on the world.

That tension, just boiling. At least you are not
Funneling through the gates at Liverpool Street on the train from Shenfield
 Eyeing the female fine inspectors from Eastern Europe –
Who have their eyes on you, too.

‘Touched by madness’ read a bit in The Guardian
about the death of Lucien Freud. You look at the guard
and think she’d be fun to drink with
but actually you’d rather vault the gates and run.

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