Naked Ladies Kissing
By Carole Ogden
Location: Oldham Road, near Wing Yip
A girl in a bluebottle coat scuttles by,
Head down, rushing into town.
She has shiny hair, shuttered eyes and sensible shoes:
a girl whose parents would be proud.
A man in a plasticine hat appears,
wearing a tie he borrowed from a friend.
Loud, tired and cheap, he will keep it
long after the end of the friendship.
By the frown of a streetlight,
Mr Oversight sings his swansong.
Shuffling along and tapping his toes
to a tune only he knows,
Clicking his over-long fingers.
On the other side of the road
stands the nuclear family,
using mobile ‘phones to keep in touch.
They send each other photos
of their smiling faces.
Rain soaks, like a memory,
into the skins of the paper children,
huddling against tall walls.
Unnoticed, they slip, once more,
back between the cracks in the road.
The world passes by
under the influence of billboards
and naked ladies kissing.
Carole Ogden lives in Bolton and was a Poem for Manchester finalist about five years ago. She is currently working in reader development and trying to get back into writing. About this poem, she says: ‘I used to travel regularly down the Oldham Road where I saw billboards with the poem title on – was quite intrigued!’Stats: