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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

High Street Blues: by Pete Marshall



High Street Blues
By Pete Marshall

A lonely man upon a bench
with rolls that spilled from out each side
he must have been, what - 60 plus?
but high street blues had passed him by.
And shouts were heard from teenage gangs
who jostled chips and KFC
whilst girls would egg and push them on
then tease them with virginity.

Some kids would laugh by sequined dolls
in stockinged thighs and see through tops,
and next door folk would come and go
with bucket grub from burger shops.

Beneath the bridge the busker sang
where once the pigeons played their games
as mothers pushed their laden prams
and passed his cap of measly gain.
The rows of shops no longer seen
for coffee bars and fast food dreams
and Bank’s & Cash for precious things,
or pawn that sits where hope has been.

A family pushed and rushed on past
in clothes that once would fit them proud,
where goods are bought too quick and cheap
but never last beyond the sales.

Around the square that marks the end
A man would preach of Lord & God
His voice would sell a damning world
yet, troubled souls would laugh & mock.
And boards were placed on shattered glass
where fights had spilled the night before
when high street blues would come alive
to late night drinks and booze fuelled wars.

***********

I was walking down my local high street this weekend and my mind drifted to how things had changed, even in my life time...heck they have an Ann Summers shop next door to a KFC!

This is my poem for One Shot Wednesday, hosted this week by Adam Dustus. A great platform to share your work, opens at 10pm UK time

45 comments:

Diana Lee said...

What a fantastic tale you've given us...I can hear taste smell see each scene as it unfolds. Wonderful :)

repressedsoul said...

Seems I'm walking that street with you there Pete...bad shop placing though Anne summers next to a KFC? And what's the slogan for KFC...shut up shan, said too much...

Lucy Fur Leaps said...

I feel like I'm there after reading this! Love the rhythm.

Dulce said...

So after lunch people can go have a look... why hide Annes shops?
Joking-
now this poem tells so much about how times change even in High Streets - sigh

Great one, Pete.

Claudia said...

you had me with the title pete...the blues..saw me walking this street with my sax, playing the tunes to your high street blues writing - so which scale you think would fit...? would a D flat blues be ok?

Steve Isaak said...

Wonderful, vivid work.

dustus said...

"KFC is to chicken what MTV is to Music" —Lewis Black

This one makes me cringe from too much truth at one time. Great social commentary captured in smooth lines.

flaubert said...

This is a vivid piece, Pete.
Great imagery.

Pamela

lori said...

"pawn that sits where hope has been..." Boy, that line stopped me for a bit. Nice work :)

signed...bkm said...

the whole street comes alive here Peter...all the way into the night... all around a KFC...nice one shot.Pete...bkm

Beachanny said...

I had to google Ann Summers - uhm too much information came pouring forth from that website - wow on your high street next to the chicken shop..definitely something poetic there I guess, toys for chicks..nevermind. As usual you wrapped your reader in your words and took them for a 3D journey in vivid color, complete with touch and smell. Always excellent. Gay

Elaine said...

I live in Canada now but your poem to me right back to the UK. I could almost feel it. Well done!

Theron Kennedy said...

I really like it Pete. It feels kind of like an acoustic folk song to me. Something Bob Dylan might sing.

Dasuntoucha said...

This is quite a poetic panorama you have here...definitely enjoyed the view.

Olivia said...

Very closely observed Pete!

I almost felt I was in there at the KFC. What vivid description of kids and the crowd. Pigeons- I have a thing for them :)

Loved it for the story and the realism in it. I too love KFC food- but eat only once a year and even that has stopped- my dresses really don't fit me anymore. Thanks to all the processed foods!

Hugs xx

kenny said...

Oh it's delightful! I didn't even need the photo...I could see the high street, hear the sounds...definately a weekend, Saturday or Sunday, could be anywhere but VERY UK;

...The rows of shops no longer seen
for coffee bars and fast food dreams...

and trembling so nicely into the last few lines...

I loved it!

Aquarius63 said...

A wonderful portrayal of what was and is. Great visionary. Well done.

Anita.

budh.aaah said...

Wistfully fantastic Pete.. And loved the line 'high street blues had passed him by'

Corbie said...

Hmmm yes I too had to look up Anne Summers, interesting choice next to a KFC that's for sure. It is amazing that when we visit places of old, the changes that take place. You captured it vividly in your poem. Thank you for sharing!

hpicasso said...

thanks for the walkabout Pete...very good use of slant rhymes and careful word placement

"laugh by sequined dolls"...nice

Peace, hp

*really like the freedom of OSW*

Christine Ramsay said...

You capture the scene so well, Pete. It is much the same everywhere these days. A brilliant poem.

Brian Miller said...

you captured a snippet of the signs of our times peter...nicely done and with great imagery...oh what is our world coming to...

Myrna R. said...

Sad to see things change, yet change is inevitable. Your poem so accurately describes the melancholy feeling we get when things don't seem to change for the better. So well done.

Old Ollie said...

No kidding right? There is a mall beside my old school - lucky bastards.

Ollie

hedgewitch said...

Yeah, the older I get, the more dramatic and invasive the change seems to be. here, there's a sex toy retailer right next to the local garden center. WTF?? Very weird. I can't even imagine the world of the past, where things took centuries to change in any fundamental way. Now every day is a slideshow moving at warp speed.

Excellent use of rhyme, as always pete, and your structure and phrasing just keep getting better and better.

Asobime said...

Very, very visual and visceral.

Yes, the changes in things of brick and mortar, and soft tissue and dreams within a short decade.

Amazing....and a very universal poem it seems.

Lady Nyo

Natasha said...

Pete, as above so below. Your one shot and your triolet are both masterworks. In a more appreciating society, you would be very well paid indeed! Guess we're too busy destroying our architecture and history for a fried chicken fix! Love the photo too :)And the brillient rhyme, how I do so love the rhyme!

emily wierenga said...

i could see it all. thank you for this, pete. i hope you'll join me sometime for imperfect prose on thursdays. e.

bumfuzzled said...

how pleasant to the ear to read aloud. intentional or not, the metrical qualities make this a joy to read. you rock, my friend :)

bummy / monty

Glynn said...

You tell the story of High Street through its people, and in the process the street becomes truly alive. Good work here, Pete.

Kavita said...

Ah... a snapshot of the present, with hints of a greyed past... together portraying the haze of a potential future.. (sigh)
Really very nicely written, Pete..
I think I am AT the square, witnessing it all... listening to man singing songs of Lord and God to a deaf world passing by him..

Luke Prater said...

create quite an atmosphere here.. a lot going on. Busy piece; I think you handle all the strands of activity well to furnish us with lively imagery. Nice job. 'tease them with virginity'.. great line and so true to life...

G-Man said...

I do the same thing in my home town.
Sometimes the memories are better left unmolested.

Big Sur Blogisphere said...

A wonderful description of your "High Street". Vivid and lucid, the characters come alive with the paradoxes, textures, mannerisms and smells. A poetic sociology of the street. Very good.

Tiger

Heather said...

I've said it before, you are a great
storyteller Pete. Loved the rhythm here too.
As for my poem 'when I finally make starlight'--same here, made up a song
for our little one at 2 days old, and never expected her to ask me to sing it to her at bedtime at 6, but she still does...would love that to be remembered in my family more than any of my poems.
Have an excellent week and rest of Oneshot!

Don't Want A Real Job said...

I really enjoyed this one Pete. So much imagery packed in there and with so much meaning. Cheers and thanks for posting.

jen revved said...

Evocative, moving-- I think we feel your soul in this one, Pete. You handle the form beautifully. xxxj

libraryscenes said...

A powerful, yet not preachy commentary ~ wonderful flow.
Loved, 'pawn that sits where hopes has been'~ just rolled on the tongue, and then sat for a moment..

violet said...

Ooh - I like this! The rhyme is smooth and natural - giving it the feel of a ballad.

Here in Canada such scenes are also way too common.

Reggie said...

I like the imagery here Pete. I also like the flow of this as well...time changes things and things change over time.

Rachel Hoyt said...

Beautiful imagery and rhythm. I can really feel what it's like there! We've had a lot of changes on our main street here. It is interesting to see who goes out and who comes in...

Here's my One Shot: Ode to Strength.

Shashi said...

Your verses are always a class apart.. different in style and content. How i wish I could write like this about every day situations... unlike my focus on life, love and loneliness... you are a great writer...
Thanks for sharing this one...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/03/whispers-memories-from-living.html
At Twitter @VerseEveryDay

Carys said...

Great take on the generic high street Pete. Laughed my head off at Shan's comment - bad girl!

shah wharton said...

Wonderful - you carried me right away with this. Shah. X

Alegria Imperial said...

"...The rows of shops no longer seen
for coffee bars and fast food dreams
and Bank’s & Cash for precious things,
or pawn that sits where hope has been..."

I love these lines from your compelling nostalgic walk in perfect rhyme with details vividly woven in. Thanks for sharing it, Pete!