Yesterday on the 67 I took the last available seat.
Soon afterwards there was much tutting and kissing of teeth.
Above stood an African Empress with her entourage,
no older than 35,
muttering about priority seats.
I didn't consider her need taking priority over mine
so I sat firm accepting the challenge
only to be willingly usurped by a genuine case
Cue tutting and kissing of teeth.
I chose a seat at the right hand
of another African Monarch
whose giant denimed thighs
sat proud and immovable,
her teeth and tongue condemning my broadsheet.
Brows beaten from all sides
I perched in deference
careful to avoid more tutting
and kissing of teeth.
As we hit the shallow end of Kingsland Road
It struck me how fond I was of these women
with their tutting disapprovals and kissing of teeth.
Better, I thought, than glass eyed boys
with their handsome noses
Flat amidst their reflections,
dreaming of all the small
Better than the butterblondes
Rationing their icy kisses
to any new captain.
Or all the scattered sequins
for the light.
Better than asteroids
and free masonry
and performance art
and Bird flu and publishing sensations and the Bergdorf diamonds
Better than anxiety and better than regret.
But not better than cats.
Elegant and unbeatable,
striding through centuries.
And here amongst African Royalty,
these women seem permanent and
as indestructible as cats.
Kissing their teeth at my shadow
behind them on the high street or
in the queue for the cash machine.
Tutting at the breeze for its impudence
yet, I like to think,
secretly smirking at it all.
And the tutting and the kissing of teetha surly challenge to laughter