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

were invented?’

‘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.’