Atlanta Ballroom

Between the Red House pub
and the Railway hotel,
after Ready, Steady, Go!,
the rendezvous. Handbags
circled like wagons, tactical retreats
to the loos. Revving up scooters,
puffing on fags, waiting for ever
to make the first move.

Perfumed sweat, floor sticky
with beer; every Motown beat
of my heart. Forces sweethearts
starting fights, drinks spilt,
innocent squaddies tumbling
into bloodied streets
while not-yet-famous bands played
on. Most saw their names in lights.

Why didn’t we? Things you’d
forgotten with the years;
words that once made sense.
Where can she be? Fingers
tapping keys, hands searching
in the dark. The longest kiss
you’ve ever known; holding her
close on the last bus home.

Greg Freeman