Stuart Roy McIVOR


South West One One - Night Relief


South West One One,
Night relief,
Switchboard operator,
At the nick.

Light!
A call for help?
Guess?
Wrong!
Duty officer wants to know what's on.

Dry mouth, slow eyes,
South West Eleven Three a.m,
Tyres on wet outside,
White sports car,
Dolly girl with sheepskin bloke,
Stop line overreving,
Breathalyser heading.

Inside,
Smoke, fag ends, sweat,
And Seven Twenty Six,
Conversation,
Car, house, kids,
Wife!
Life!
Drop out!

Light!
Landlord and tenant misunderstanding,
South West Eleven,
Common happening,
Over to you - Four Eighty Two.

Jet airliner,
Over South West One One,
B.A.C. One Eleven,
Noise abatement agitator,
Can't you fly no higher.

Dawn on way, Pavement drying
Heard a baby crying,
Red bus, Red eyed coppers,
Chars,
Clapham Common 'queers' gone home,
Switchboard operator too.

Submitted: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, May 06, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

A poem I wrote in 1968 when on night duty as a switchboard operator in a South London police station. 'Light' is the signal on switchboard to signify a call. Police officers are referred to by number, hence Seven Twenty Six. BAC 1-11 aircraft long out of production. 'Queers' means Gay, in common usage then before gay became the accepted word.

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