Lowest water I’ve ever seen
at Putney Bridge, the river
just a silver sliver.
Warmer than the Sahara.
Forty-one stations between
Wimbledon and Upminster.
At Sloane Square a four-piece
brass band blasts us with
When The Saints Go Marching In.
of hope and happiness.
I donate, lead the applause.
Exchange anxious glances
with a woman in black
when we’re turfed out
at Dagenham East, four stops
short of the funeral; acknowledge her
again with a wave outside the church.
The priest only mentions Paula
two or three times.
Preoccupied with the incense
and holy water.
At the wake the woman in black
knew Paula in the 80s and 90s,
reveals herself as an MP’s wife.
There’s another MP there, and his wife,
a baroness, and a bloke that we used to see
on the telly, speaking for the party.
We drink to Paula, talk about narrowing
poll margins, and Jeremy Corbyn.
The old, vicious men who soil themselves
in their comical tabloids.
Seen in the street with their flies undone.
Does anyone still read them?
Her widower Joe recalls his part
in ‘the longest suicide note in history’:
I wasn’t allowed to change anything.
Just checked it for grammar, punctuation.
The beer flows. We start wondering
about a miracle …
The phrase “the longest suicide note in history” was coined by the late Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman] to describe his party’s 1983 general election manifesto. At that election the Tories won by a majority of 144 seats, the most decisive election victory since Labour’s in 1945
Greg Freeman is a former newspaper sub-editor and now news editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud https://www.writeoutloud.net/public/index.php. His debut pamphlet collection Trainspotters http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/greg-freeman/4587958507 was published in 2015 by Indigo Dreams