What's that smell?
I turn off the lamp and know something's changed
the aftermath of burning
we are cordoned off
the police wire goes right along the road
the white-blue tape houses madness
houses us in
I turn away
in excitement - the look
of a slobbering puppy
watching the TV screens
and tick them off
Dalston. Hackney. Croydon. Peckham. Clapham. Brixton
the shoe shops go up in flames
the infernos beacon on one by one
they rage on
a million windows smashed
a trillion shards of glass
each borough wrapped in the cough of fire
fireworks and Molotov cocktails
and the ragged molten orange mesh
just inches from Greggs
and getting nearer
the horror-numbed faces
ghoulish in the grey light
cannot even scream - now
I hope the calm descends soon
I know there will be an end game
I know we are on the brink
and while I turn to
hurry back up the
a lone policeman - body covered totally
his shield outstretched
flanked by fireengines
stands facing me in the rain
A lovely hugstreetlamps help build the night
the lonely lamps, the brilliant beacons
voices flicker in the tiny silences left by thoughts
i know i won't hear them again, just as i want
but i try to store the feelings
clothe my memories with them
the distant haloes of these nights
as they vanish into ghosts
like the brush of hands
the fumbled hugs
which speck my drifting hope
I still go there, chugging away and churning up the past. Spring clearnesses. Cherry blossom epiphanies. Former seasons glisten. Top-of-hill greatness. Early year humidity. Echoing lostness. I made my home and then I smashed it. Reborn feelings. Brittle friendship. Anger at the wasted moments. The bright moment: the repeating movement. I still go there. Only get this one chance. Cloud-like stillnesses. Realise I need the kisses. Polleny wafts through dull warmness. Brixton slumber flashbacks. Bathing in regret. I fashioned my home then I crushed it. On-tour excitement. Balmy airstream. Tactile longing. Herne Hill branch. Ultimate views of the vista. Doppelganger heartache. Budding daffodils. Go in for the smile.
Lands for the after-work blossom. Where I go trying to change and where I clutch air. Solar boil stored. Bulbs sexify these courts. Precarious allies; keep close, despite the chaos. Flatten out anomalies. Make for a sudden shift, and note the clarity from Waterloo bridge. I satisfy my own thirst to be the hero of my thoughts. Flirty bastard. Keep making these mistakes, but keep catching my own reflection in the Thames, some kind of other reality among the watery river-version City bright lights.
Cosmic glow of the estates. Wind hand-rash. After-work estates Ė dusk-gold-whites. Headlight flash. Nostalgia pilgrimage. Day-seep into older memories. Has it been so long? Background road bin bags and multi-colour chain restaurants. Soggy unseen spaces. All of the bikes dash across the crossroads. Galaxy glow of the lamps. Various shadows vanish. Everything coming together in a sudden flash in my mind. Bright oranges greens reds of the stalls. Dainty pubs. Fresh perfumed. Cafe doors open, groups emerge Ė the changing of the guard. Hill-puff cheeks. Best One near-side star. I get some kind of feeling back. A sort of itch. An awakening in the yellow-steel lamps. Back-cafe gossip; a soggy Argos. Always mine.
Lit London exacerbates the senses; 100% non-generic. The tarpaulin for night gazing, with beacons and pound-like golden circles thrown and sewn into the whole mess. Something has been breathing down my neck all this time Ė Iíve been huffing and panting and blowing and trying to unravel what it is. Maybe itís the creep of the past, throbbing up as energy into the solstice streets, the ghosts refusing to limit themselves below the six-feet mark. Or alternatively it could be the dread of the future, the looming statue thatís shaped Londonish and wants to be wrapped up in certainty and smiles.
Piazza flow, riverwards. Sweatpits. American guys telling it like it is. ďBlurred linesĒ, swilled radiance. The arches go on for miles. Slide of bones. Sweatbones. Neutral in the shade. Blue heat. Pavement neon cross-kiosk. Flow. Gamble on the rhythm. Shade-seeker. Bathing in mild Sprite. Swigged. Coffee threat. Raw and deep. Blue nothing. Talking to myself in the toilet. Sweaty underneath. Frizz. Red-melt plastic. Jamaica platform-time-dots. Beginning to slowly crumble. Thread to lace the dream. Orange false. Sun. Suntan grease. Aqua from corner. Piled in. What is becoming, devotion means for keeps. ďDevotionĒ. If I could write the book myself. Acts lost. Lust tempered. Dream thread. Impossible not to keep it close. But miles close the door. Sweatpatch. Creasy touch. Swigged. Put that on your receipt. Keep it. Aqua green glint, sunglare stone. Date carving, blue stone. Cavern of Sprite. Grazie.
The stardust of the springtime. Night begins to spread out, blossom. Now this is in reach and I can see it. Sodium fogginess vanishes. Everything begins to have an edge, I can feel it, it presses against me as Iím about to wilt. Imagine feeling. Spreads out like haywire power lines across a vomited mushroom of steel and wood. Iíve thought about this on other nights, and mornings, and Iím not sure now which is the real version of me. This one, or that? Thoughts from dreamscape visions. A ragged cloak thatís been dragged through the rain, thatís how I feel right now. And I flash once more forwards and backwards to the fun of soul-searching in the pub-toilet mirrors. The steel of the springtime.
Glacier belishas at tramside as we plough the fresh territories. Icy chair. Knife-cold slap upon door slice. Vista becomes panorama massive. I move with the vehicle, into some memory crossroads. Plastic night. Nothing else moves. Nothing except digits onto pints and burgers towards mouths. These are my evening grooves. Where I have no foundations but a tiny inkling. Its elderly hope gathering. I was born into this vista. Raised as an adult, fun-eyed, treating myself to horizons of high-rises. Licking my lips as fledgling galaxy beats attached to images, as those stars became expressions. Now I signal an intent. Past versions recycle. I allow myself the peace of them.
© Copyright 2017 John Maher