F.W.Woolworth’s Leaving Do by Peter Raynard

Late as usual a pasty-faced Greggs sausage rolls
to the bar, orders a pint and radars the room.
In the snug, old friends M&S & BHS reminisce
about the Man at C&A, watch Topshop’s figures,
it’s unique and boutique. Many others crowd
the dance floor Whistles stands alone, unaware
of Zara’s foreign presence. Heals may be higher
in price and class, But Primark may yet have the last laugh.

Others keep out of the spotlight hoping
it won’t spin their way. Waterstone’s wets itself,
Foyles cuts fingernails real quick, Anne Summers
vibrates scantily with fear. Bums are squeaking
all along the High Street. In a darkened VIP area,
the far-from-sadministrators disembowel Past Times,
autopsy Whittard’s fine teas, fix bulbous eyes
on His Master’s Voice and Blockbuster’s,
as they snort lines of coffins filled with the rewards
of Jessop’s losses, ready to hollow them out.
Clinton’s couldn’t be there, so they sent it a sympathy card.
‘Your time will come, don’t you worry,’ it read.

But there is still some fight, as Poundland
takes a swing for 99p stores but misses
and Pop Up shops poke out tongues,
Charity shops hold out hands, whilst
Amazon and eBay are virtually there.

Greggs shuffles round, asks the barman
‘What did the F.W. stand for in Woolworths?’
‘Fuck Wit,’ he replies.

Peter Raynard is a writer and editor. His poems have appeared in a number of publications and his debut collection “The Common Five-Eighters” will be published by Smokestack Books in early 2018. He is also the editor of Proletarian Poetry: poetry of working class lives.



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