MAG Poetry Competition 2010 – 2nd Prize Winner

Bus Stop

by Anthony Stevens

You can taste the anger
Like salt in the air
Women with faces of cigarettes and woe
Spit nails
Flicking their tongues like knives
At peers
Fearful, scared by their own reflections

Council tip vultures
Rip chip bag shrouds
But scatter
As buggies plough past
Driven by mean girls with muffin tops
Blowing out steam and smoke
Shouting, competing with their babies to be heard

Hooded boys, strut
Like Adidas peacocks
Whose tails fanned with threats
Punctuate blue air with spit and snot
I cast my eyes down
Making good friends with grey concrete
Just in case they see
See me
Standing at the bus stop

Added: 16.04.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


'Like Adidas peacocks'.. brilliant line.


Good images, but a lack of punctuation and what looks like a careless mistake (use of the word see twice)in the last verse spoiled it for me


Well observed, contemporary, not too long. Like almost all, lacks prosody, but that seems part of the genre and indeed, the fashion.


The anger and pain in the air is very clearly rendered. And I love the women competing with their babies to be heard. Fantastic!


Fantastically drawn slice of life. Loved it.


The poem captures this ordinary situation well. Good descriptions of the "types".


I could really relate to the sentiments and I loved the line about making friends with grey concrete


Really captures the atmosphere of feeling out of place at a bus stop. I love the use of the senses of sight, smell, taste and sound.


Very powerful and poignant, with terrific economy of language - every word counts both in sound and meaning.


Every word counts towards making this an evocative poem


Loved "mean girls with muffin tops" Brilliant! And making good friends with the pavement.Fab use of language.


Reluctantly excluded from my top 4


My fave fave poem right from 1st reading. Easy reading, means hard writing for poet. Wonderful lines, couldn't fault a single word.