The Toilets at Paddington Station

turnstile-shaped bruises

They've made the toilets in
Paddington station free,
The bastards.
Suck the fun why don't you?
No more scrabbling in wino-wallet,
Piss-stained pockets for change,
No more nights playing the replastering-
the-piss-stained-cell-walls game after
Being arrested for vaulting the barrier
Or ducking the turnstile,
No more iq tests for drunken guile,
No more telling the boys that they
Won't believe what happened to you
After you left them last night
Because they probably can believe
That you went to the toilet quietly before
Catching your train with time to spare,
Though they'd much prefer
A tale of despair about how you
Chose an extra hour's sleep
Over clean underwear.
Niece and nephews won't be impressed
When you've no blood-stained vest
Or turnstile-shaped bruises to show
And your wicked uncle coolness rating's
Heading for an all time low
Now that the gates are thrown
Open and they're letting anybody in,
Even the ones who aren't really sure
They need to go.
I hope this wasn't a political decision.
Some sort of nod to the classless society
Or a nanny celebration of sobriety
Or a sly apology for rising fares.
True, they're not sucking
Silver from me anymore
But they've sucked the class
Out of a place I used to love
To sit my drunken arse.
I've got more money for beer,
But they've stolen away
Something I held more dear.

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Poem Study Notes:

Nostalgia comes from strange places. This poem gushed out in a torrent of fury and mourning-for-lost-youth, one morning at work, early in 2020.

Striding past the toilets at Paddington station in a kind of smug, I'm-not-drunk-or-otherwise-stricken-bladderly-so-I-don't-need-to-try-to-find-20p-to-use-the-toilet kind of way, I looked around, aghast, for other commuters who would share the feeling of outrage which beset me.

But nobody would meet my wild and peeved stare.

No turnstiles, no change machine, chuckling mechanically, while transforming your crisp tenner into a bucket of grubby 20p coins.

Life has become too simple.
Why not just give everyone a nappy.

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