McDonalds on the Campaign Trail
Unscheduled, unexpected, we divert
Somewhere between Cardiff North and Swansea:
It can’t hurt.
Fuck politics for a moment, we’re hungry.
Seagulls skive in the frothed foam. Waves meet
An emptiness of car parks, scalding coffee.
The long unwelcome of the M4 greets
The Brackla Industrial Estate McDonalds,
Standing indifferently in the rain.
How did I get here, campaigning again,
Five years since the last General Election?
Damp leaflets fill our car, with their mundane
Truths: #HardworkingPeople #LongTermPlan.
(Only simple messages are understood.)
We queue, order, someone pays. I pick up
My lukewarm food:
Greasy manna from heaven! Calorie crap!
McChicken Legend with cool mayo and lettuce.
We run lines, statistics, check the map.
Dear unborn daughter, this is my advice:
When you wriggle unbreakfasted and bloody
Hell headfirst screaming into the world,
Think of me,
Famished and gobbling French Fries in the cold,
Digesting how Hope is not a strategy,
How Change is just a politician’s word.
Remember Brackla when you picture me
Barnacled on this damp fringe of civilization,
Unsmiling, stuck in this Drive-Thru, God knows
You have to win.
And superficially at least, the scene shows
A working restaurant in a working town:
Unglamorous miracle! Where sweet nothing grows
But this battered outpost enduring, a sign
Of something millennia-old, unkillable,
A habit more ingrained than politics:
Chucking the scrams, I bin my brittle chips
And we go through the diary. Ahead of us
Lie two fundraisers: Don’t let Labour ruin it!
And a radio clip: Jobs! Growth Justice!
Clouds spill their damp guts, and back in the car
Mist soaks the road like a Welsh baptism.
Storm-drains vomit their hungover hymn.
What does it mean, this watery ceremony?
He hath filled the hungry with good things
And the rich he hath sent empty away.
Instead of politics I think of you
Womb-waiting, ignorant of this election
And the blue
Seascape that stretches to the Welsh horizon.
My phone pings with its emails, and opaque
Doubts flock and squabble. You have to win.
Gulls crowd a beachhead, where wave-waters break.
- Date July 9, 2015
- Tags Paul Abbott McDonalds on the Campaign Trail