The following poem was originally published in September earlier this year in Verge 2017: Chimera and is available at Readings and online.
The £1000 Bend
is scraping thin
between two things
that will not ever meet.
it’s holding onto handrails just out of reach;
the brightly painted bars
running overhead but not ahead
to hold you steady
as the faint electric whistle
cultivates a home
against the rhythm of your dreams.
Sometimes it lives in scared strewn things
screaming Shakespeare in reverse
too afraid to sit amongst the people
gambling on their £1000 bends.
It breaks the bones
of suburban homes
struggling to find a foothold in a crowd
as the tunnel closes in
at six o’clock
and the rails are beaten to a bend.
It’s warping iron tracks
and making glitter from graffiti,
pretending to be Michelangelo
praying in ¾ time
along a soundscape uninvented
You break facades
and paint them fresh,
tattoo the underground with compositions
and listen to the echoes
that beat like broken metronomes
skipping inside bars untimed
to the direction leading home.
You breathe the £1000 bend
like it’s the thing with feathers
and dare to waltz into skies of grey
as the weather stains in untimed droplets
to cries of engines and of people
who all start to look and feel the same.
Route maps and itineraries line your pockets
wearing along well folded lines,
as they leave unappreciated
little scabs of secondhand existence
in a notebook of apologies.
But before the steamrolled tracks
grind to a stop
you cannot drop
your fearless gaze.
Having lived, and breathed, and gambled,
you continue to bend
a thousand pounds to search your soul.