Sometimes, of course, it is sheer bravado,
wishful thinking about what could have been.
times it is because I do not remember,
retold the story so many times
it has become fiction, a truth gleaned
from photos, memoirs, friends’ anecdotes,
overlaid with a veneer of middle age.
It probably wasn’t like that
but I remember it as better then.
Gigs were cheap and plentiful,
London was a great place to live,
and the world just was, a place
of potential and possibility, not one
devoid of promise and spare cash.
I worked shifts at the hospital,
spent a summer mixing chemicals
in a factory, another teaching sailing
to kids in the USA. New York
was simply wonderful, hot and
cheap to live in; a year in Coventry
brought me down to earth, taught me
things I didn’t want to know:
how people were different and lived
as they chose, how people were poor
and couldn’t live as they wished.
Forty years later, we’re all the same:
broke and trapped in a consumer dream
we can’t afford and wouldn’t wish
on anyone. Hidden away in our village,
we’ve escaped the worst, but friends
are back on the dole, on the streets,
worn out from corporate bullshit
and the forms they always need to fill in.
Sometimes the future seems sheer bravado:
we need to stand together, not give in.
Rupert Loydell’s books are published by Shearsman Books and Knives, Forks and Spoon Press.