The Alleyway (A Poem)

Driving down the alleyway, buildings either side
looking out for strangers as there was nowhere to hide
The sky was dusky pink as the sun began to set
I should have gone the long way; now, full of regret.

I travelled further onward while I looked in all directions
What a fool am I to set out without protection
I reached into my pocket and grasped at my alarm
At least I had a halfway chance of avoiding any harm

Looking up skywards, I could see the crescent moon
Trying to be brave, I whistled out my loudest tune
Shadows of my wheelchair from the strobing streetlight
The bulb’s on the blink, don’t fail now; I cannot fight

Suddenly, a sound could be heard from up ahead
Imagination at its worst, fearing I could soon be dead
Should I turn and speed away back the way I came?
My life could be in danger, with just myself to blame

My forehead was sweating; my heart banging like a drum
Glancing up into the sky and  hoping help would come
It was my own stupid fault; I should have gone the other way
I pictured my early death; what would the neighbours say?

As the shadow of the person was getting very near
I was absolutely terrified and wished I wasn’t here
He approached me with a beer can, knocking back the drink
My mind in total panic mode, not knowing what to think

As he staggered towards me; my head was in a spin
A waft of marijuana and, on his breath, the smell of gin
His words left me surprised; “I’ve not come for a fight.”
I’ve locked myself out, missus. Have you got a light?

Photo by FOX:

Author: Ellie Thompson

Writing my memoirs, musings, a little fiction and a lot of poetry as a way of exploring and making the most of my life ... ... Having had a break from writing my blog for more than three years, I decided to return to write my memoirs, some day-to-day observations, views and feelings. My passion is non-fiction poetry. I have a disability and use an electric powerchair called Alfie and let nothing get in the way of living life to the full. I believe that you can never do a kindness too soon and should give credit where credit is due. A smile or a kind word could make the difference between a good or bad day for a person - we never know what's going on for another soul. Those little things, perhaps, practised daily like a mantra, could mean so much to someone else. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading a little more about me. Please, make yourself at home here. You are very welcome. Ellie x 😊

73 thoughts on “The Alleyway (A Poem)”

  1. Nothing against you or your poetry, Ellie, but I don’t like this one. I would have called it “In search of Fear” or some such thing. I’ll wait for your next endeavour. This one leaves me cold.

    1. That’s fair enough, J. I’m sorry you feel that way, but thanks for letting me know. You know I value your opinion, positive or negative. I can see why you would have called it something like ‘In Search of Fear’; it is actually an isolated alleyway close to my home and a route I sometimes have no choice but to take. I labelled this poem as fiction as the last two verses are fiction, but the rest is true and how I feel travelling down that dark alleyway in the late afternoon or evening during the winter when it’s dark here from 3.45 pm. It is often terrifying for me, hence the first five verses. I don’t know whether this explains the intense fear aspect of the poem. Perhaps, I should have explained this better and not referred to the whole thing as fiction – I have now removed that word from the title and the tags. Thanks again for your opinion, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

      1. It was actually calling it fiction that I had the biggest problem with. You have told me this story before, minus the last two verses, so I knew the fear was real. I had to question why you were hiding it?
        I know you have the right to describe your poetry in any way you like and yes the last two verses were fiction, but the majority was real, that could not be hidden.
        And you did just fine with that part. But for me the ending didn’t sit well. I did not want to come right out and question your literary choice, but I did want to hear you take responsibility for feelings that belonged to you.
        Maybe I should have minded my own business and not commented at all, but I thought silence was worse. I needed to let you know I had read it.

        1. Please, never think I would feel like telling you to ‘mind your own business’ (in your words). I value your opinions, J – they mean a lot to me, as I’ve said many times. I’m glad you called me out on this one. As it was, I was wobbling between calling it fiction or not before I published it. I think I was trying to hide the worst of my fears from myself and not own it, as I should have done. As you know, I’m not great at fiction at the best of times. It’s something I struggle with because, as you know, my writing comes from my soul, so perhaps, I should stick with what I do best – my authentic life experiences. I honestly appreciate you pointing out what I needed to hear. I’m glad that you took the time to read it and to share your feelings and views about it.

          1. 😇 I seldom “mind my own business!” I just don’t want to push too hard if you aren’t ready to go to certain places in your being. I know your strengths, what I do not really know are your weaknesses. I want to have a pisitive role in your life — my fear is always exacerbating a weakness.

          2. I’m glad you didn’t ‘mind your own business’ on this occasion 😚. I learned something valuable from our conversation here. Thanks for having my best interests at heart, my friend X 💙💜💚💓💚💜💙

    1. Thank you so much, Jenn. I’m glad you like my poem. I’m good, thanks, apart from a bit of a cold. Other than that, I’m fine. I hope you are doing well, also? My love to you, too Xx 💖🌹💞

      1. I try to leave comments when I can. Sometimes shorter than I like . . . but you get the picture. I’m just in awe of folks like yourself who can tell a story, but use a poetic structure. For it, it’s like trying to walk and chew gum at the same time. Ha, ha, have a great weekend!

        1. Thank you very much for your kind comment, Brian. I appreciate your words, even if you only have time to write a few. They still mean a lot to me. I haven’t heard of the phrase, ‘trying to walk and chew gum at the same time’. Over here, we say, ‘it’s like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time.’ That really is a challenge if you try it out. I hope you have a lovely weekend, too.

          1. Ha, ha, Ellie, I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Ugly American Tourist” who is rude and doesn’t realize that things can be different when they travel out of the states. Consider me the “Ugly American blogger” who forgets that American phrases are not known around the world. Ha, ha, yup “trying to walk and chew gum at the same times” means not being able to do two things at the same time. Sorry about that. I personally like the UK version of the phrase much better. Something about rubbing your tummy hits on it perfectly. Thanks for the laugh and have a great weekend.

  2. I loved the twist at the end! And it was so lifelike….I actually had an experience something like that a long time ago. I had gone to the city to visit a “farmer’s market” that was in a rather industrial area. Walking away from my car, it occurred to me that I probably should have parked closer, and that being on my own in this particular parking lot may not have been a good decision. An old, beat up car approached, passing the exit to the lot and empty spaces….it was obviously coming, quite deliberately, straight toward me. Just as I was wondering if I should run for it, the window rolled down and the driver said, “Don’t park there, honey! Park in the spot I just left, there’s a half hour left on the meter!” I thanked him, he smiled and waved and drove off……

    1. Thank you, Ann. I’m so glad you enjoyed this and could relate to my poem. How strange that you have had a similar experience yourself. How scary. Funnily enough, although I called this piece fiction, to begin with (because the last two verses were fiction), the rest of it was true. I do have an alleyway just like the one in my poem, and my words were just how I feel going down there – the fear and apprehension were very real, as they were for you in the car park. Therefore, I decided to remove the word fiction. Thank goodness your story had a ‘happy’ ending, as did mine. Have a lovely weekend, Ann X

  3. Well, I love the picture. When I read your poem earlier in the day I thought maybe the picture came first and you used it as a prompt. I want to say that people are generally good. Even in today’s world where everyone seems bad, it’s still a very small percent who mean harm.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jeff, and for reading my poem. In fact, the poem came first, and then, I searched for a suitable image. That’s how I work it for all my poetry and other writing. I always write the piece first and then find an image that I feel relates to my story or poem. I appreciate that most people are not bad; it’s just that I feel so vulnerable travelling down this alleyway alone and in the dark and being a wheelchair user, too. Have a great weekend, Jeff.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Pamelap. I’m so very pleased and honoured that you enjoyed this poem and wanted to read to the end. Your words mean a lot to me. Thanks again. Xx 🌼💓💕

      1. You are so welcome my dear friend!! You are so talented and I appreciate you very much!! You give strength and courage to me and I am sure others as well!! You stay in my thoughts and prayers! ❤️❤️🎉

        1. Thank you for such kind words, Pamelap. It’s nice to think I can help others, although I don’t always have confidence in my work and spend ages debating whether I should have published my posts, or not. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Xx 🌺🥰

  4. This is brilliant, Ellie! Like ‘yourplateormine’ above, once I’d started, I couldn’t stop.

    … but since you appreciate criticism: parts of it, at least to my ear, do not scan well. For instance, this made me stumble:

    I travelled further onward while I looked in all directions
    What a fool am I to set out without protection

    PS I like Rawgod’s suggestion of the title ‘In Search of Fear’ 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comments and suggestions, PeNdantry. Thank you, too, for mentioning that some of the lines do not work to the ear. I’m not sure about the title, ‘In Search of Fear’, as I didn’t set out looking for fear. This piece is mostly about a route I have to take quite often near where I live. It’s frightening travelling along the alleyway once it’s dark. Yes, I am very afraid, but am in no way searching for fear or searching out a dangerous event. Not sure if that makes sense. Thanks again. How are you these days? I hope you’re well 😊.

      1. I see your point about the title.

        I forgot to mention that as soon as I saw the word ‘marijuana’, any sense of fear evaporated from my mind. In my experience, folk who partake of that particular substance are too mellow to be a threat. Perceptions differ, naturally 🙂

        I’m well, thank you, but far too busy with my house move arrangements!

    1. Thank you so much, Selma. I’m glad you enjoyed it and that you liked the twist at the end. I haven’t written anything in the least bit suspenseful before, so this was a first try. Thanks again. Have a lovely weekend. Xx 🌹🌷💞

        1. Thank you, Selma. I’ve never written suspense before; in fact, I can’t even face reading suspense stories, either. Too scary for me 😬! Perhaps, I will try it again (when I’m feeling brave 😁). Xx 😘

    1. Thanks, Brian. It definitely is scary being out in the dark and alone. I feel especially vulnerable being a wheelchair user, too. This poem is about an alleyway near my home that I have to travel down quite often. Glad you liked my poem. Thanks.

    1. Thank you so much, Brit. That means a lot to me, coming from a great fiction writer like yourself. I’m glad you liked the ending. It was my first-ever attempt at suspense poetry, and all but the last two verses are true and relate to an alleyway near my home that I have to use regularly. It’s a scary place. Xx 😊💕

      1. Thanks! Coming from a great poetry writer like yourself. I felt it all as I was reading. You definitely conveyed how scary it is was. First attempt? You’re a natural. 👍🌼

  5. I quite enjoyed this poem. I was right there with you in the alleyway, but also, at the same time, I saw myself on some of the paths I took in my life. Sometimes we know we might encounter danger, but we choose it anyway. We gamble. We risk it all. Is it worth it? A lot of the time it is (gets you home quicker), but when it’s not… it leaves you full of regret. Your poem showcased how we keep walking, even when we know something bad might happen. Even if we have regret. We keep pushing our luck.

    The final lines gave me some reprieve from the stress – just like those paths usually do.

    1. Thanks for reading and your comments, Sam. I can see exactly what you mean. This alleyway is one I have to use fairly regularly, although I try, if I can, not to be out during the dark. It’s difficult during the winter as it’s dark by 3.45 pm some days. Although it’s a short route home, the longer route is just as fraught with danger. That road has no pavement on either side, which means driving into the traffic, which scares me, as you can imagine. The only way around the problem is to have someone accompany me, but this just isn’t possible. I just have to keep my personal alarm in my hand and bolt along the alleyway as fast as possible. It never fails to leave me feeling fearful but also grateful and lucky if I get through it without encountering a stranger on the way.

    1. Thanks, Bridgette. It certainly is very scary. I try not to go out alone in the dark afternoons of winter and the ends of the days at other times of the year. I’m glad you got some relief at the end of my poem. Xx 💐💞

  6. Ellieeeeeeee! What a brilliant poem! I’m simply blown away! You’ve been honing your craft!
    I loved the suspense, the thrill, the line “What would neighbors say” and the amusing ending.
    Well done! ❤

    1. Aww, thank you, my friend. I’m so glad you liked this piece. It’s the first time I’ve written anything with suspense. I’m glad you enjoyed the ending, too. Xx 🌼💖

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