Jacob Dengate

A Sojourn in Suburbia

People squint in the street, bathed in the flashing lights
Sirens scream in the dark, shadows dart for shelter
Stoners mooch through the park, congregations of the night
A couple on the pavement near the launderette bicker
Inside: anger
An old lady spitting
Lacey smalls torn up, ‘Nothing ever works round here’
Splintering glass
Running footsteps down the street
A homeless man cowers in the wreckage of a bus shelter

These are mock Tudor houses with ornamental door knockers
A notice flaps in the breeze from an overstuffed wheelie bin
That blinking streetlight casts an intermittent shadow
On the lovers kissing over by the boarded up chippie
A green garage
With a ‘keep clear’ sign
Blocked by a Range Rover
A ‘help for heroes’ sticker
Black water bubbles through an overflowing storm drain
Crisp packets dance around the limbs of a dead tree

Groups of teens laugh
Addled at the pizza joint
Harsh tones across the road
A drug deal meets boiling point
A clatter as a badger sniffs
Around the skips behind the Co-op
It has half an ear and its stare is like ice

Past the empty blue flats that overlook the powerplant
The wrecking crew have packed up leaving their toys behind
A bulldozer waits shaded in menace
In its steel the blinking sign of a local church is reflected
No souls to be saved, these souls are long gone
Moved on up
Moved out
But never moving on
Sounds on the wind bring promise
Of salvation from a different place
It’s always Friday night in town and the prices are ace

A Sojourn in Suburbia by Jacob Dengate was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (November 2019) judged by Oz Hardwick.

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