Tellers, Beggars and Car Guards


by Gareth McLuckie


Do you like this town?

Or has its shoddy bones sapped your drive?

Has its small-town-ways numbed your mind?


The world seems so far away.

All you’re left with is imagination.

You have to rely on films and books.


The same things catch your eye every morning:

Poster on the corner lamppost – “Have Ant problems” – Call 082 556 8645

Car parked outside coffee bistro – registration CF 12 MG GP

Food market – every last Sunday


You know the tellers, beggars and car guards at your every stop.


You run into an old friend.

“I didn’t know you were still here.”

“Why would I leave? This place is great.”

You will tell your out-of-town friends next time.


You worry about what to wear.

You know you will be judged.


You have to put up with racism and homophobia.

The hair on the back of your neck stands up.


Late afternoon, 6 o’clock, when the sun begins to set

You look out your window and you start to realise –

You are going to spend the rest of your life here.


You turn back inside and look around your room at your

bed, desk, side table and book shelf

and you wonder whether or not this is your decision.



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