The Never-ending Economy

 

“Queue Here” reads the sign

underneath the old railway bridge.

An arrow points towards the wall

networked with ivy, tracing mortar;

the road map of the industrial age picked out

in dark green with white-flecked veins.

 The line begins to form, men and women

arguing amongst themselves, exchanging evils,

totally oblivious, so terribly ill at ease

in polyester uniforms and crumpled suits,

virgins to hand-outs clutching at tickets,

early birds to an imaginary worm.

 

Eventually they begin to die, they fall

at the wayside and lose their position.

“Someone’s on the way soon,” they moan

insidious bankers walk amongst them,

nudging out their pockets into invisible sacks,

grimly extracting their pounds of flesh.

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Charmer

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His foot taps along and his blue cardigan shakes

as he breaks into familiar song, wispy white hair

frantic about his ears, dancing along in time to

heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

 

He bends and grates as he stands up straight,

down he goes again, a rheumatic metronome

for his harmonica, his playing fleeting, hypnotic;

a pretty woman stands transfixed, mouth open.

 

Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes,

heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes,

and eyes and ears and mouth and nose,

heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

 

The old man pogos in time to the rhythm,

he gyrates and quakes, blowing hard, eyes shut

feeling each note as it tumbles from cracked lips,

reeling, he plays each joyous bar like it’s his last.

A Bird’s Eye View of Victoria Park (Those Damned Gulls)

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The golden stone glows, rich with midday sun,

man-made cliffs that bookend a verdant ocean

of bathing sun-seekers and children cut loose,

chasing balls across the grand green expanse,

flitting past us like flies, riding bright plastic scooters

along grey tarmac rapids as the current sweeps us

onwards towards an island, a monolithic outcrop,

a gleaming rock where we stop, to preen and to roost.

Levels

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The dead lay next to the railway

in a small triangular yard where

two young boys lay down wreathes

and ask their uncle; “Where do they go?”


Hay bales wrapped in black plastic

rise like islands from a deep brown lake

that was a cornfield two days before,

now sodden sheep graze on the shore.


Cars roar past with an almighty splash,

driving up droplets that cover the road

and spray onto windows, little rivers

with no hope of reaching the ocean.


Rolling valleys of green and brown

fields tucked behind hedgerows

are drenched; they thirst no more,

like the dead, they thirst no more.


The boys and their uncle stop off

in a pub on their way back home

to where their mother waits, alone

sat sipping gin next to the phone.

 

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