Sunday, 30 November 2014
New Poem: Jacket
The guy next to me on the bus did his jacket up
and said to me, ‘When I was a kid, we didn’t have
‘No,’ I said, ‘same for me. No velcro.’
‘Funny, isn’t it?’ he said, ‘we got along fine with
zips and buttons.’
‘Yep,’ I said.
‘Mind you, not many people know that zips had
to be invented,’ he said.
‘If you asked them, ‘Were zips
invented?’, I think most people would say that they
were,’ I said.
‘What about buttons?’
‘I like buttons,’ I said, ‘my mum had a button box.’
‘Do you think most people would know that buttons
‘I think so,’ I said.
He said, ‘I’m not so sure. People take buttons for
granted, these days.’
‘The zip on my jacket isn’t working,’ I said.
He said, ‘The thing about velcro is the amount of
time it saves.’
‘Really?’ I said.
‘You bloody bet it does,’ he said, ‘every time I
velcro up this jacket, I save about three or four
seconds. Imagine what that is across a lifetime.’
‘Well, it wouldn’t be a lifetime for you, though,’ I
said, ‘because velcro only came in later, didn’t
‘That’s right,’ he said, ‘but think about it from the
kids’ point of view. They’re saving hours and hours
already. It’s why I feel so good about the future,’ he
said. ‘These kids are going to do so much more
than people of my generation.’
‘I think that’s what my grandparents thought when
the zip came in.’
‘Yes,’ he said.
‘My grandmother lived for about ten years in
America,’ I said, ‘and she really liked zips.’
‘Listen,’ he said and pulled the jacket open very
quickly, ‘every time I do that, I think, it was only
a few years ago, you would never have heard
that. I can’t imagine a world without the sound of
‘That’s not what Paul Simon sang was it?’ I said.
‘Sang what?’ he said.
‘No, nothing, ‘The Sound of Silence’, you know.’
‘No,’ he said. ‘No I don’t know about that.’