280 Words

Goodbye kiss to the day I’ll miss.
Put headphones on and select a song.
Down the cobblestones until further decision.
Division like the very fabric of football.
Could choose my normal route to The Square,
just four corners to take – a simple shape –
see proud flags made of organic thread,
all the colours I like will be on display. Although,
what if I head down Butcher Row instead?
Sure it’s steeper down the shuts but
I fancy my luck out there today.

Before the leap, I see a wall
so opposite to my position, it’s hostile.
How long have these concrete eyes watched on?
I’m terrified and contemplate calling in sick,
return to rich address and don’t overthink.
Then in each direction, groups meet at the centre.
There’s pointing and shouting and spit flying
into hair that’s in flames and ignites more people
to march out deluxe doors left ajar
as kids peer through windows
above the obscenity.
Hesitate to whisper,
future back in that house,
until I see bricks change angle.

Thinking in pink.
Shout loud about my background.
Grab the handle of both sides.
Point my crooked nose at the stone:
‘Let’s climb this together.’
‘Peace and love forever.’
Those at the back can’t hear my speech.
But those really listening cheer and preach.
Reach for ladders or offer cupped palms.
Touch the top layer but get knocked off
by a flare thrown from out of nowhere.
Hunt the culprit while the victim burns.
Bodies clamber to sample some action
like a mound of sugar infested with ants.
Look back at my house in a peaceful daze.
Turn to the melee and see a knife in my face.

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