take me up the high street and buy me
oversized gingerbread hearts
from european vendors with
cold fingers and
kind, crinkled eyes.
buy me a praline latte from a
corporate coffee chain and
we will talk about how christmassy we feel.
there is a tree,
outside the odeon,
that towers and sways with poor baubles;
decorations that look like someone has thrown them
from street level
and hoped for the best.
a sudden ice rink happens,
just shy of nando’s,
where small children risk severed hands and
broken ankles to the
blare of slade on repeat.
walk me under the railway bridge,
past ann summers’ festive display,
past the 99p shop bragging its slashed prices,
past mcdonalds and its flashing, police-like blue lights,
and take me past the doors of M&S,
where a hot breath of cinnamon and
middle class panic buying
pours out of the doors, up up and away.
let’s talk about how neverneverland used to have
the first christmas lights of the year,
and how creepy it was before it was bulldozed.
remind me of how many times I thought
I wanted to move away before realising that actually,
this is home,
this vagrant town,
this beautiful mess of cheap shops and aspiration;
this is, for two months of the year,
christmas on sea.