Taxi Drivers – Kathryn Simmonds
They lean against the glossy buttocks of their cabs,
kicking free of clutch and brake,
stubble-headed, right arm browner than left,
legs whitely shocking in their shorts,
their talk, impossible to tell when distance
seals off their opinions like glass.
Five cabs ahead, the leader takes a fare, shifts
into second gear, sweeps
out of the terminal and into startling sun.
Meanwhile they wait,
June sparkling on the river’s filth a mile away,
the city folded tightly in their heads.
Many thanks to Mr B for sending this to me before Xmas and of course to Kathryn Simmonds for the words and permission to reproduce them. The poem came from Sunday at the Skin Launderette, it’s only fair I give you all the link to Amazon. The image, which features elsewhere on this site, is by my very clever father-in-law Paul Birkbeck. Click here, for more examples of his work.
Being the slightly sentimental type that I am, the final line is the one that has stuck with me most. All through the Knowledge you keep getting told that you have to get the map of london “in your head” and that’s what I, eventually, did. And Kathryn’s words sum it up far better than I ever could.