This clockwork day he joins the congregation
gathered outside the lunchtime T.A.B.
He smokes and watches the open-sesame
doors wink at punters, touting quick salvation.
He knows the truth of hope, tamps out a careless
smoke on a post; then, thoughtful citizen,
he puts the butt into a small throat-lozenge tin
he carries for the purpose. This is holiness.
Beside the twitching doors, out of the sun,
are footloose angels with nowhere to go
holding religious newspapers marked in biro,
scuffing toes and waiting for their race to run.
At two minutes to two he presses Four,
ascends with Paul McCartney in the lift
along with Mother Mary. It was swift,
a bishop’s summons showing him the door,
rage not that he’d lost his faith, but that he’d made
liaison with the Mayor’s wife, “a known nutter
who, whether it’s men or horses, loves a flutter”.
The search for this low-paid temp job’s been a shit parade.
The lift doors open with a magic ding.
He puts his password (pony) in and glances round
at Alison; thank God that he has found
another who can only hope, and cling.
1 February 2012