Poem of the North

Fifty years of the Northern Poetry Library

From Canto 3

World Headquarters

“Everyone is Welcome Here” – WHQ

In voluntary exile, I travelled north at the end of a century,
found the headquarters of the world on a street in Newcastle.
Every Thursday Friday Saturday night, muscle memory carried me
from The Forth, from The Tele’, from The World-Famous Trent House,
a holy trinity of pubs all leading to Worldies, where whatever shade
your skin, you were welcome. The dance floor was an embrace.
Music flooded my ears, poured out of my body as sweat
and at the bar, I drank in language, bathed in dialect.

For once in a lifetime, we had it sussed. Here was an extended family
of our own choosing. Nowhere felt more like home,

a version of the world that doesn’t exist.

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