Passing an ancient phone box brought back memories of days gone by, once so bright.



I dial 999

‘Emergency, which service do you require?’

Cleansing department, please

‘I’m sorry sir, Police, Fire, Ambulance or Coastguard?’

 The cleaners

‘What is the nature of your emergency, sir?’

I’m unable to use this effin’ phone box,

It stinks of stale tobacco and prehistoric piss

Can’t use it like this

And someone puked in the corner last month

The evidence is still festering here

My dear.

I can’t see through the windows

For the obscuring grime of time

The smoke smell from the ashes of my yesterday

For which I ever pay

The piss, taken by posturing political pricks

The puke’s faint odour persists,

a reminder of my desiccated past.

I’m sick of being tired and tired of being sick

‘I’m sorry, sir, you’ll have to clear the line

Cleaning is not an emergency’

It is here

Do you not understand?

This box, like me, once so bright and essential

has been forsaken, overtaken by cruel fate

Is it too late? I need help

Can you hear me, mother?



© pronto 2020
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critique and comments welcome.
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Effin’ time waster… but i hear you’re pain. I think you made pretty good use of that box. Cheers albert 🙂


I think this modern poem is excellent, pronto, probably your best in this genre IMHO. Using connecting anecdotes instead, I once used the too rapidly changing population of an ancient lane to express the personal disastrous effects this can have on national identity , and here you’ve used a much loved and neglected national icon to the same effect. This nonchalance symbolizes and triggers off the despair the narrator feels when applied to what now feels like a whole miserable life, so much so, that the irresponsibility of his actions no longer deters him. It’s a cry for help that… Read more »



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