Afterwards

‘I stroll, distracted, up the coast…’
Back in this place,
fifteen years on,
with all the past dead and gone,
and I, too,
a ghost of the real,
a ghost of memories I can’t feel.

Better than London,
this rained out town,
with its grey skies
and its silent frowns
and its vacant eyes.

This morning,
after coffee and burnt toast,
I stroll, distracted, up the coast,
past tacky old cafés,
past the sea,
past places that have slipped from me.
I walk past pubs and ice-cream booths,
the distant haunts of my dead youth,
and I feel old.

I grew up within this cold,
amongst this sand,
and though life has swept me away,
from this weird land,
I think, this time,
I’ll stay.

Back on these streets,
a few wasted years on,
and I wish I felt something strong –
anger, guilt, sorrow, pain.
I feel nothing but grey rain.

Nights and memories pass me by.
Life goes on, alters, restarts.
If I had a heart,
I’d cry.

I like this place,
the sand, the pier.
I like this place.
You were never here.

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