The Commuter's Plight

Early in the morning

the trains already smell -

the air thick with human odour

that open windows fail to dispel.

The malodorous fug a fruity blend

of smells man-made and natural -

a vast array from pleasant perfume

to others more diabolical.

A few top notes punctuate

the background smell beneath:

beery breath and garlic;

blocked sinuses and bad teeth.

Bodies emitting clues to diet:

the raw fish of sushi,

the spices of curry and stir fry,

and ubiquitous coffee.

Perfume, aftershave and nail varnish

can offer some respite,

but the more obnoxious ones

just add to my plight.

The reek of musty clothes

not properly dried

tests the nose’s self-defence:

to become desensitised.

On the journey home other whiffs arise:

the alcoholic’s contribution

of alcohol, fags and urine,

a rather potent emission;

BO from sweaty armpits

amid wafts from cheesy feet,

and just to cap it all, the sewage works

after a day of sweltering heat!