Poster in a Seaside Bank

Happy to serve you
in Clacton-on-Sea, it said.
Or something like it, I suppose,
the tawdry market-speak
of councils that convene
to seem spontaneous,
to carry on the half-hearted facade
that anyone would tarry here.
The poster faced the glassed-in booths
in which the bank clerks passed their days
assisting pensioners, addicts,
and silly sods like me
who must be forced
to love technology.
Perhaps the poster forced my hand
towards the apps, ISAs, and other means
of pushing on.
To not see that poster,
the face of Clacton Pier,
which might have been appealing once
in '65 or so,
before we conquered Benidorm.
But even with its makeup on
it looks as old and tired as
a songbird chopped about with knives
to still seem twenty-five.
The purple sky pickled above,
the sharp declining hill below
the bridge between the war memorial
and shops, arcades, cafes, and crazy golf.
The lamppost long since blotted out
with masking-tape about
its glass. (One hardly needs it in the light
of neon frontages for bars
and pizza restaurants.)
It all looks so unutterably grim,
the blown-up photograph taken clearly
at dawn, before the drunks and jobseekers
could creep like nemeses
upon this faux-Edenic scene.
The ghost of some comedian
may linger in the snap.
Perhaps he trod the boards
in '65 or so,
the end of Clacton Pier
a poppy den of battered fish
and salty chips, and cigarettes
The last of gay Britannia fell,
and pier sides now a novelty
appeal to nostalgists only,
seeking to re-incarnate chaps
like our comedian.
For now, however, what remains
is just a blown-up photograph
inside a seaside bank.
Written by Casted_Runes (Mr Karswell)
Author's Note
Inspired by (and structure slightly borrowed from) Sunny Prestatyn, a much better poem by Philip Larkin:
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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