Passing Through Barnsley

It’s strange peering hurriedly
into the twilight of other people’s lives,
seeing dozens of identically-set
television sets showing identical scenes
and people’s faces ghostly
in the thrown light of screens

in the road parallel
young boys throw stones
at a woman in a phone box
on the phone.

Cars are pulling up/ the sky shudders and darkens
one kid kicks a headlight and runs
into the gloom and home
for tea with mother and living rooms
punctuated with gunshots and bulletins

And for these people this strange street’s home
under the black sky lit with orange fog
where in the distance lamps glow briefly
splutter behind trees that blister and die.


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