The backroom

there are tall bars on the glass
opaque with years of urban grime
obscuring the towering walls of the shops
that
lead away down Oldham Road
and a grimly oppressive northern sky

we are warmed by a big electric heater
huddled up close to fight the winter chill
an old leather chair showing its age
but still able to swivel and tilt
sits beside the tea and sterilised milk

there is an air of complacent decay
of comfort in this all male place
where last week’s Motorcycle News
settles comfortably into place with the back issues

beyond here, a dim bulb lights the way
past the single always dripping tap
through an old, heavy door
that drags against the concrete floor
as if unsure about the heavy air of the world beyond

2002

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