Wolverhampton

Death to perpetual boredom! On the midland streets
where shadows patch along greyed pavements after
11pm. 1960’s orange brick and tapered edges of brown
fencing, multiplied and mirrored road after road after road.
Rusted, yellowing bus-stops hang lopsided along the
side of the outer-village parkway: perspex burnt by youth
and lighters. Grass verges are partly over-grown where
neglectful home-owners aren’t bothered. And tattooed underpasses
flicker their oranged lights showing the pinks, reds and greens
of the art work. Staffordshire Bull Terriers make up for the complexes
surrounding the benefit scroungers; broken teeth and blood proudly shown
as war scars. Fairy and Christmas lights dimly pulse to an invisible beat
for twelve months; scrawled over the faces of houses by the super-market.
Uneven streets and pot-holed roads act asan assault course for the
daily commuter, dreaming of permenantly leaving, for places like Birmingham
or Lichfield. A brook of rubbish limps and flows, acting like a moat around the woods near the middle school. Ties from leavers of years gone by hang like flags around the fences. There are fights in these woods, or used to be. Scrapping kids flailing towards oneanother with eyes closed, chanting children encircling, clapping and frenzied until the umbrella carrying, dark-coat wearing Head-master strides towards the commotion, catching the assailants by the collar to be dragged back in through the school gates. A car-park near the school acts as pergatory for those that have physically but not mentally left the school, where they can smoke Green and fags, drink drive and intimidate. Any sign of the sun and shirts are off and draped over a shoulder. These men make their way through to the decaying playing fields, where dogs rabid with freedom snap and play with patched leather footballs. Cries for ‘tea!’ are ignored and games of violence and sport continue until necks are red and arms burnt. The area surrounding the super-market houses the lost characters of my generation, smashing windows to the local curry-house, lighting a box of matches and dropping them into the letter-box and stealing vodka to chug and sip from the bottle.

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