Bristol City Poet Vanessa Kisuule has invited Bristolians to send in their own poems about the city. Every two months she selects her favourite poem submitted to be featured on the blog. The poem chosen this time is ‘Junkies in the Underpass’ by Caroline Burrows.

Junkies in the Underpass
by Caroline Burrows

My poem is about an underpass I cycle through to get from Temple Meads, past St. Philips recycling centre, through an underpass which comes out at Big Yellow Storage, Lawrence Hill/Barton Hill area.

I quickly cycle past
the junkies in the underpass.
Their dealer stands dead centre,
a white man dressed in black,
astride a bike, without lights.
This underworld, his stage.

His shout carries a glint,
like the water in the bottle,
and the steady metal spoon,
l spy left, at pedal level.
A scene waning,
like the moon.

Evenin’, brays this King,
of short sharp pricks,
as I ride wide of him,
peddling his shit,
to two locals laid low,
between broken glass and grit.

Yellow light reveals them huddled,
beneath the underpass’ mosaics,
which depict a long history,
of most of Bristol’s trades.
This current exchange excluded,
and the sugar, and the slaves.

Graffiti scrawls across the pictures.
Letters and words all strung out.
Not street art, not a Banksy,
Just a public place defaced.
An update, representing,
this exact time and space.

Copyright Caroline Burrows.

Please note that this poem cannot be reproduced without permission of the author.

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Visit our Bristol City Poet page to find out how to get involved.


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