Regent

They said it had been six weeks
since you last visited.
And is it any wonder,
really?

Pushing the familiar swing door.
The stench of stale beer,
body odour,
cigarettes.
Hits your senses like a thousand knives.

You have been living in your solitude.
You have been living in your peace.
Your comfortable home,
the scent of fabric softener.
Fluffy pillows,
cosy duvet.

But here, in the stench of regret,
wretched souls,
drink their lives away.

King of the travelling men
catches your eye,
“Yer lookin’ as bonny as ever”.

You force a smile,
“Thaaanks”

They buy you a beer,
watch you while you talk.
You are so conscious of their eyes
on you.

In the corner, he sits.
Swaying pint glass,
an uncomfortable angle.
“Don’t spill that”.

Arms in the air.
Feigned triumph.

You have seen him
a thousand times.
Does he ever see you?
Does he see anything?
You wonder,
where is he living?
It is not of this earth,
anymore.

“He’s told me they’d kidnap you”

Don’t you see,
that is no compliment.
There are reasons people fear them.
And rest assured
if they weren’t so inebriated,
you’d be in the back of a van,
heading to your untimely demise.

A friendly old fisherman
hears your naiveté,
tells you of his ‘respect for women’.
Does he think you are so easily fooled?
“I tell the children, it’s a pound to sit with Santa Claus”

This is all you need to hear.
And you run.
You run and you run.
Until your legs can carry you no further.

This is what you escaped.
This is what you try to forget.
This is no place for you.
With all of your sensitivities.
With all of your terrors.

This is not the place, for a lady.

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