Close up the shutters, pull off the letters and watch as the plastic teeth rains caulk.
Lock up the doors so the teenagers won’t break in to drink.
Seal over the locked doors so the homeless won’t break in to sleep.

I can still go in, inside my head.
The location yet lives, although He Is Dead.
I’ve outlived closed shops, I’ve outlived closed friends.

And I am told there will always be new shops and new friends.
But you have built playgrounds on top of my sacred graveyards,
with headstones only I can find, hidden behind neon and melamine.

And you talk about them, but then run out of people who know or care.
Have you ever been to a building project that fell through? With the CGI people on the front?
Pristine concept stores, pristine people, manicured trees, happiness and smiles.
New build houses, sunshine beaming down on the golden roof tiles.
I saw one of those adverts, cracked and broken, on the side of an A road, covered in twigs
and a moss-covered traffic cone and a broken shopping trolley missing two wheels.
I wanted to pull it out and take it home.
Maybe keep it with me until I can find someone
and they can tell me about it like
a contractor

or a hedge fund manager

or a day labourer.

They can tell me about the happy people on the side of an A road, covered in branches next to a shopping trolley missing three wheels.
And a missing moss-covered traffic cone.
Sometimes I even miss the leftovers.

A man walks into a bar and with trembling lip asks
where his favourite childhood sweetshop is
and it’s not funny.
What about when I am old and grey and stagger through
fifteen variations of a town nobody can agree upon?

I wanted to step back into the same river, late one night.
I wanted to save the people in the advert, late one night.

She kissed me on the cheek last week as I cried upon my bed.
She knows just when the past decides to chase around my head.

And she said:


I know you’re scared of the future,
and that’s only considered fair.
you can go back to the past,
But nobody’s living there.