Skip to main content

Junkies in the Underpass Caroline Burrows

Bristol City Poet
Aerial view of Bristol

Written by Caroline Burrows

Share this

Bristol City Poet Vanessa Kisuule has invited Bristolians to send in their own poems about the city. This poem was submitted by Caroline Burrows.

My poem is about an underpass I cycle through to get from Temple Meads.

I quickly cycle past
the junkies in the underpass.
Their dealer stands dead centre,
a white man dressed in black,
astride a bike, without lights.
This underworld, his stage.

His shout carries a glint,
like the water in the bottle,
and the steady metal spoon,
l spy left, at pedal level.
A scene waning,
like the moon.

Evenin’, brays this King,
of short sharp pricks,
as I ride wide of him,
peddling his shit,
to two locals laid low,
between broken glass and grit.

Yellow light reveals them huddled,
beneath the underpass’ mosaics,
which depict a long history,
of most of Bristol’s trades.
This current exchange excluded,
and the sugar, and the slaves.

Graffiti scrawls across the pictures.
Letters and words all strung out.
Not street art, not a Banksy,
Just a public place defaced.
An update, representing,
this exact time and space.

Copyright Caroline Burrows. Please note that this poem cannot be reproduced without permission of the author.

Header photo: Aerial photo of Bristol (Destination Bristol).

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update