How To Build A Shoe Rack

Conference centre shined black brogues
line your top shelf, they've listened into
business banking presentations led
by the TED talk talker,
the public speaker who took more time
out of his day worrying about pronunciation
and getting the audience involved with jokes stolen from his father rather
than learning about the financial model moulds
that'll make up the quarter.

Next to them is a pair of two-step
Blackpool ballroom shoes worn by your grandfather
years ago, so long ago in fact that you can't remember
him in them or shining them, only the pictures in the albums above the fireplace
can remember them; plastic photos in plastic wallets
bound in faux leather and bought from Boots
when they had a spend-a-tenner-get-500-free-points offer on.

Broken-in winter plimsolls
for the garden and trips to Tesco
gather on the next shelf down. Originally white,
now a faded shade of green, grit and gravel
thrown on when the school run comes around all too early at 5-to-3,
sit tied up ready for their duties as
driver, carer,
councillor and parent.

Your weekend away slip-on shoes
that support the heels, not bruise them,
are waiting to worn again.
The last time they saw a city
was your honeymoon in Manchester;
a cheap weekend away because you're saving for a
deposit you'll never build, yet the amount of meals out
and cocktail bar receipts you were billed but never paid
say a different story: they say you enjoyed yourself.

Fourth shelf down and we're getting to The 
Road Not Taken shoes:
the walking boots wrapped in mud,
coated in silver Malham limestone
that have grown into crystals
and fists full of weight that's now weighing down
tired ankles and sore, shattered shins.

But the shoes you wear most don't
have an assigned shelf, instead just the floor
for them where they're in constant flux. They don’t look
bad but they don't look new,
the heel's worn down from
where you drag your feet through
and around the house and from
when the rain came late last summer and the sleet,
from when the sun came through and the clouds
ran through, from when the family came to visit and
then when the door got locked for a night under 
sweet blanket cover.