Where denim and leather sit side by side
and strip-lights sabotage slumber.
Strangers stretching blurry eyed,
non-nocturnal minds encumbered:
not through choice but desperate need,
the overnight MegaBus,
London to Leeds.
Where minutes match the miles on the motorway.
The strip-lights are surrendered,
leaving cricket scores in the Evening Standard
by midnight’s mask.
The old man squints,
with nothing but
the Butterscotch glow
from Finchley Road
to illuminate his wickets.
Bare feet stick out in aisles.
It looks like a cross between a bingo hall
and a morgue on wheels.
The stuffy air stands
behind the shoulders of your lungs:
forcing them to work for every breath.
The toilet is out of order.
The stench floats just above your nose,
like the Baileys in a Baby Guinness.
Whenever you lean back to rest your head
(which is fairly often at 2am),
and catches you unaware.
And then you snooze for a bit,
with jacket between head and shoulder.
Trick your brain into thinking
there’s a duvet and a mattress,
until the booze morphs a mouth
a month’s worth of crackers.
The hot air stifles
and your forehead pounds,
from London to Leeds!
Look around: we’re winning at life.
We drop off at Rugby,
Sunlight creeps like a magnifying glass
on a coach full of ants
being dragged from the capital.
The particles of shit from the blocked-up bog
form a Morris dance pattern
‘round your nostrils.
The Services are always 25 miles away.
Jesus still loves us.
This billboard is still FOR SALE.
The cricket scores in the Evening Standard
have fallen to the floor.
The picture of the crease
all creased by his sandals.
The strip-lights fight for attention,
but they’re long since a formality.
The overnight MegaBus.
London to Leeds.
Blurry eyes now bloodshot.
Strangers carry awkward familiarity.
Snoring and sighs,
stretches and yawns:
cash is the Queen,
and we are the Pawns.