Beeston (part one)
It’s lying in bed and knowing exactly which train just went by
(because I live in the Rylands and the train tracks are right behind)
it’s the 25 past going to Matlock so I stay in bed till half past.
It’s the too early too loud sound of a helicopter going over my house
and I’m thinking it’s gonna land on the roof
when really I know it’s going to that field between the tram and train tracks.
It’s multiple texts on my phone from my mum saying ‘are you coming up Beeston?’
And it’s arranging to meet on the benches by Tesco.
It’s being half-dressed (or half undressed) and wondering if I’m being looked at
like in that novel The Girl on the Train, a book that was strangely relatable.
It’s walking down my street passing houses I grew up with
most of them with the same people inside
and it’s seeing my ginger cat race by because instead of leaving, I should feed him.
It’s sticking my headphones in and listening to the same songs I
did when I was a teenager, walking up to Beeston a one person Black Parade.
It’s knowing, from home to the high street, where all the unlucky three grates are
and avoiding them automatically.
(yeah I’m one of those people, blame my sister she started it)
It’s waving to the driver of the Eighteen bus as I go over Plessy bridge,
and seeing the love of my brother’s life as she’s on her way to co-op for a shift.
It’s waiting at the Queen’s Road crossing knowing that when the cars behind me move,
the green man will come on soon and I can continue
and end up walking by that window decorated with seasonal displays: it’ll be Hallowe’en soon
and I can’t wait to see what they create.
It’s looking at my reflection in Amores and saying I’ll go there soon
but I never do, cause I guess I’m too romantic and I want it to be a date.
It’s getting to the traffic lights just before Tesco and feeling sorry for the cars who have to wait
because look there’s a tram coming, and which one’s it gonna be?
Is it D.H. Lawrence, Alan Sillitoe, Vicky McClure, or any of those other big local Nottingham names?
I feel a rush when it speeds up then I look to my left
and the 36 is on its way, I’m not catching that one today but I still appreciate all those journeys I made,
the books I read, the friends I bumped into and the conversations we had.
It’s walking by Tesco, and that empty bit of land,
and it’s seeing my mum sat waiting, just where I knew she’d be.
It’s calling those benches Bench Club, cause we’re there all the time,
and it’s saying hello then sitting down beside her for five minutes
before we both get up and walk down the high road…
Beeston (part two)
It’s hearing the price of strawberries over the noise of people buying them,
it’s walking into WHSmiths and looking at books even though they’re cheaper at Tesco,
and it’s going into New Look cause they’ve always got a sale on,
and coming out with two t-shirts: one that says ‘boys whatever, cats forever’ and the other:
‘I need space’.
It’s waiting in Boots for some tablets, or browsing make up I don’t wear,
then ending up in Poundland buying everything I didn’t go in for.
It’s looking in the windows of Rudyard’s in case I see someone I know,
then forcing myself past Thornton’s because I’ve got plenty of boxes at home.
It’s buying a new diary from Ryman’s, because that’s where I’ve always got them from,
and hoping they never get rid of that notebook, because I’ve made a home in those pages.
It’s telling myself I shouldn’t go in Oxfam Books, cause I’m there on Wednesday’s anyway
and I’ll only buy more books, but I go in and look at the poetry
and they still don’t have any e.e.cummings.
So in frustration I go across the street to what was the Beeston Bookshop,
and is now Book Land
and I pick up a tome for £1 that’ll sit on a pile at home for a while
but still isn’t e e cummings (and they don’t have him either.)
It’s ending up where I always end up, in The Bean.
And it’s getting loads of stamps on my card because I’m there every day.
And it’s writing, or reading, or meeting, or just drinking,
but here I’m surrounded by people who know Beeston.
So it’s being on my own in a cafe, and knowing I’m not alone,
because I get my shopping from Sainsbury’s,
and I buy too many books from Tesco,
and I have to divert to Lidl for the pastries,
and I’ve never known a high street without a beeman,
or a small town with so much going on.
So I stick my headphones back in
and pretend I’m a performer and that the whole of Beeston is singing along.