Poem – A London cycle courier in summer

A poem I wrote a few years ago which was inspired by Emily Chappell’s memoir ‘What Goes Around: A London Cycle Courier’s Story’. I am never convinced anything I write is finished so I have decided my own blog is a good place to share it with no pressure!

A London cycle courier in summer

Fixed frame staccatos, stop-start over and over, the control

of a woman who has covered ground and knows this road

opens up around the bend.

Her gears grind through hot, furious traffic,

it’s captive anger exalting her

inconvenience. Legs hammer,

a deep groove

between muscle and bone,

a gulf

defined by the art of repetition.

She sails from Southwark, ever rising

glass and steel, down

to Newcross, sick stains and blood

no sandblasting can shift. She clings

to curves near sites of hen nights and gang fights that she

didn’t see. Bound to that black box,


in haze of fumes and heat,

she delivers crisp white sheets –


which signs you up, or sets you free.

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