They’ve built a Slavic bus station in Gloucester,
huge letters perching atop the concrete, I’d like to
curl inside the O and re-read Oblomov. The hall is a
civic cavern that sneers at the cathedral
as confused travellers look
for the next non stop service to Stroud.
But the departure boards now list Smolensk,
Tomsk, Minsk, Vologda and queues are building
at orange booths for excursions round the Golden Ring.
I grab some cheese pirozhki and secure
the last seat on the morning coach to Yalta
and as Quedgeley disappears suddenly
the glint of the sun on the Black Sea is breathtaking
After the fall the pier survived
now free to enter but no more
happy train to the crumbling
pavilion. Hints and jolts
of runaway power caused
occasional reawakening in the neon
and prompted blasts of slowed down ghosts
of once unstoppable jingles.
Remnants of families dragged
their failing corpse limbs
on a pilgrimage back to where
they once cast coins like birdseed
dreaming of chomping again
on burgers as radioactive
as their now orange skin.
The pier itself was trying its best
scrunching its insides of
plastic prizes tight for one last try
to inject a spark
back into the blood of the land.
About John Porter
John Porter’s poems have been published in The Screaming Fly , Prole, Streetcake, Snakeskin and Morphrog. He lives in Gloucestershire, UK, after previous stints in London and Moscow. He usually writes on trains or whilst waiting for children to fall asleep.