The 101

by June Palmer

From this small town
to a city centre, in the centre of nowhere,
with pouts and frowns
girls wait for the 101
their legs exposed and white as February,
longing to be gone.

Octoberish winds slam
the dressed-for-summer party wenches
in their Primark glam.
Shop-window kittens
huddled behind piss-stinky Perspex
their futures written.

Giggling and mewling,
pushing onto the sweat-fugged bus.
Some old lecher drooling
as they tamp out fags
on cheap fake red-soled stillies;
clutching clubbing bags.

Result! Limbs morphed to rubber
iPhone dropped down toilet in Sugarmills,
sit kerbside and blubber
in gutter-bare feet.
Mates chain-link arms for safety
past the police presence up Trinity Street.


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DSC_0140I can’t recall the first poem I read, but I can remember the first poem I wrote aged about eight. It must have seemed like a way to express my feelings and not feel alone, as it was about fear of the darkness and the night time. I was always fascinated by words. Reading good poetry makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and occasionally say “Wow!” I submitted to the Poetry of Staffordshire because the creative process made me observe the county where I have now lived for so long. The poem chosen was inspired by watching a bus queue, on a cold Saturday night, from the window of my favourite pub. The scenario is ubiquitous in the UK but this was one particular journey, from Stone to Hanley, under the microscope.

Having escaped the real world in 2011, June is now a writer. Her genre is poetry, and lately short stories some of which have been chosen for reading events, and she enjoys performance poetry including the occasional “Slam”. June is also working on a novella.  In 2015 June published a book of poetry “The Last Pictish Man” and had poems published in the “Poetry of Staffordshire” anthology In 2016 June was a winner in a national competition “Write Science” and performed her winning poem “Listening to Jupiter” on Six Towns Radio and at the Josiah Wedgwood Institute. June’s poem “The 101” is currently part of The Staffordshire Poetry Collection. She is treasurer and social media manager for City Voices Creative Writers Group Stoke