Closing Time

Closing Time
by Ben Macnair

It all started, when buskers were learning wonderwall,
and we would meet up, for a night.
Students, learning about our subjects, hoping to break hearts,
whilst protecting their own.
Individuals, who by twists of fate, of time and geography
knew each other when we were trying to be anyone else.
Over lager and pretentious drinks that only the young can get away with,
we will sit and remember all of the teachers that we tried to forget,
spreading Chinese whispers about other friends, knowing that the truth
was so much more boring..

The pub is decked in cheap tinsel,
the type that Woolworth’s used to sell,
and we realise that we no longer have that much in common,
except for the past,
and we all remember it differently.
The landlord rings the bell,
the old dog barks, and it is time to put another ritual to bed.
So, as we say goodbye, and walk out into our city,
the one that is so slowly dying,
because that is what happens when councils
put their ghosts ahead of their citizens,
knowing that some of us will be back next year,
and some of us won’t,
because that is what happens to friendships.
The Moon hangs thin in the air,
the darkness is dappled with diamonds,
and once more, all of my school-friends are strangers.

1 thought on “Closing Time

  1. Very accomplished. A mind-opening poem that connects the psychological, sociological, and political. Cities are “slowly dying” because “councils” are putting “their ghosts ahead of their citizens,” just as the old school friends are doing in their reunion at the bar. Their only link is the past, which they elaborate with lies, because “the truth” is “so much more boring,” and when they leave at closing time they become “strangers.” The poem’s details and imagery reflect this dated narrowness of perception: egs., “the pub is decked in cheap tinsel, the type that Woolworth’s used to sell;” “the Moon hangs thin in the air.” I love it when a poet shows us how our psyches contain the roots of our collective ills.

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