Wednesday Poem


Forever some customer happy to sing along with the supermarket muzak, no matter how hackneyed or crass.

Forever the plangent sound of a motorcycle in the early hours, conjuring a world you once had access to.

Forever the young couple shutting the front door, leaving to conjecture what their next move may be.

Forever the van driver slowing down to check a house number against a delivery invoice.

Forever an old boy on a rickety bike with a loyal following of one terrier-type mongrel.

Forever the husband skulking outside the boutique while his wife seeks approval from a mirror.

Forever the kind who believe in God (a little) and horoscopes (a lot) and cannot resist a buy-one-get-one offer.

Forever those with a lump in the throat at every reconciliation scene, the theme music’s pathos never failing to work its way straight to the left atrium of the heart.

Forever the cleaning woman tapping the pub window with a coin and the helmeted courier leaning his gob to the intercom.

Forever a caller so long on hold she wonders should she redial and brave the bossy touch-tone menu again.

Forever a youngster hacking the grass with bat or stick in what serves as a green space near the housing estate.

Forever, stopped in her tracks at One Hour Photo, a student smiling indulgently at her recent past.

Forever the secretary sprinting with franked mail to the post office, minutes before the closing curtain of steel shutters falls.

Forever, from an adjacent window, the commentator’s animated voice as the ball approaches the
goal area and lands I don’t believe it … barely wide.

Forever the widower turning up a Viennese polka on the Sunday morning programme and scribbling
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra on a phone bill.

Forever the girl upending the nearly-empty crisp packet and savouring life to the full, to the last salty cheese-and-onion flavoured crumb.

Forever the old ladies who smile at babies like politicians and suspect the meter reader may not really be the meter reader.

Forever a freckled builder in high-vis jacket swinging his lunch-bag as he clocks in at the chipboard hoarding.

Forever the teenagers who can’t pass up a hat display without trying on preposterous headgear in a department store.

Forever the tall schoolboy with pony tail and full-length leather coat. And forever the small one, pate shaved almost bald, nursing a cigarette like a sore finger.

Forever the sort who texts a request for her boyfriend to the lunchtime show – then throws in a greeting to her aunt and uncle, just for the heck.

Forever the thickset woman, dragging a shopping trolley, who pauses to rub a lottery cratch card like Aladdin’s lamp.

Forever the exasperated mother – hatchback open, hazards flashing, eyes peeled for the traffic police – while her son, packing the drum kit, plays it cool.

Forever the laughter fading, a dropped coin spinning to a wobbly stop.

Forever life heading about its business in places vaguely familiar like an ex-weatherwoman’s face, a New Zealand premier’s name.

Forever. And ever. All going well.

by Dennis O'Driscoll