I always dream about school days.
Even though one has been reduced
to unclaimed brick, I explore its narrow corridors
followed by assembly halls
decorated in sports equipment.
Like Dom Cobb’s memory prison,
I feel like I’m there to fix something.

These dreams started happening long after
finding the clubs buried in earth
that dented my naivety.
After tweed became fashion and when
the green fields and tennis courts of our neighbouring college
still resembled my life in the trench.
Words like ‘posh’ and ‘snob’
were the only examples of difference then.
Until I became a witness.

Now it’s estate v. estate.
Homeless means vagrant and
they’re all as valued as a boxed sandwich.
Everyone has their own intoxication –
be it bargain wine or cider, the Daily Mail or The i,
where Brookside is a crossword answer
filled in while feeding mallards
white bread in the park
and not one of the Midlands’
hottest beds for arson.

I could be the biggest hypocrite of all, though.
I grew fond of plays and
began to write poetry.
So, what would they think of me back home?
A shit football match where the ref cost us the game
still pumps through my veins, I assure thee.
And that left ventricle beats here
on a Saturday afternoon, too.

Being in the middle of commonwealth
is a lonely place. But there will be
a monopoly of empty space
around my mediocre grave
if I assume to know the better
or lesser sort
without consultation.

It’s time, then, to jump up on the wall
of that private college I knew nothing about
when we walked back from a night out.
It’s time to dance on its concrete foundation.
To be a fool in front of my peers and oppressors.
To live with both eyes shut
but take action when the alarm goes off.

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