From the Pabs Archives (12)

January 27, 2011

Unbeatable

(Bolo)

Yesterday on the 67 I took the last available seat

soon afterwards there was tutting and kissing of teeth

above stood an African Empress with her entourage

no older than 35

muttering about priority seats

I didn’t consider her need priority over mine

so I sat firm accepting the challenge

only to be willingly usurped by a genuine case

minutes later

cue tutting and kissing of teeth.

Unwittingly I chose a seat at the right hand

of another African Monarch

whose giant denimed thighs

sat proud and immovable

her teeth and tongue condemning my broadsheet

brows now beaten from all sides

I perched in deference

careful to avoid more tutting

and kissing of teeth.

As we hit the shallow end of Kingsland Road

it struck me just how much I like these women

with their tutting disapprovals and kissing of teeth

Better I thought than glass eyed boys

with their handsome noses

at the right parties

dreaming of pussy

and victory

better than the butterblondes

rationing their icy kisses

to any new captain

better than all the other sequins

jostling for the light.

Better than asteroids and firestorms

and free masonry

and performance art

and bird flu and publishing sensations and the Bergdorf diamonds

better than anxiety and better than regret.

But not better than some other things

not better than cats for instance

Elegant and unbeatable

friendly faces striding through centuries

and here amongst African Royalty

these women seem permanent and

as indestructible as cats.

Kissing their teeth at my shadow

behind them on the high street or

in the queue for the cash machine

tutting at the breeze for its impudence

yet I like to think

secretly smirking at it all

and the tutting and the kissing of teeth

a surly challenge to laughter.

***

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