It’s Quiet. Too Quiet…

While My City Gently Sleeps
It’s quiet in the town beneath the shadow of the tower.
It’s not the calm before the storm.
It’s the sullent petulant silence of a sulking child.

The people of the town beneath the shadow of the tower
Have melted away into the dark grey
Half-day
That is a summer’s street in winter.

The tower blinks.
Stretches.
Yawns.
And the empty quiet town beneath the shadow of the tower
Rolls over and goes back to sleep
Wherein to await the coming of spring.

——-

“If my mind and my city were the same thing then I was losing my mind.” – Aleksandar Hemon, The Book of My Lives

Left Bank, Right Bank, Bottle Bank

The Old Socialists’ Drinking Society
The Old Socialists’ Drinking Society
Is called to order tonight.
They have convened to battle sobriety
And, nearly as bad, the Right.

They don’t know the words
To the Internationale,
Their red flags no longer fly high.
The bookshelves that line
The old Hampstead parlour
Groan not with Engels, but Fry.

‘Moab Is My Washpot’.
Saddam was no despot.
(Isn’t it a shame what happened to Hitch?)
Who would you rather,
Chavez or Carter?
Don’t start me on Rand, the frigid old bitch.

The Old Socialists’ Drinking Society
Melts into the North London night.
Next week they’ll convene to battle sobriety,
And, nearly as bad, the Right.

——-

‘Some people’s blameless lives are to blame for a good deal.’ – Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

To Absent Friends

Ah, there you are. Very good. My, isn’t it cold out?

So not only do I adamantly refuse to go away, I also refuse to make sense.

I’ve been in the lovely but freezing city of Edinburgh this week, and so, while this one wasn’t actually intended as such, it could pass as an elegy for a city I have come to call home. London, for all its facelessness, is one of the only places on earth that can draw this type of reverie out of me.

For London, Whenever I May Find Her

Today this city is torn in time.
This vast, beautiful, ungainly
Heffalump of a city
By seeming older is made younger.

The sheets of rain cascade down
The sides of the old towers and the new,
Eroding as they go the twin ravages of age
And modernity.

Gloved and hatted old men watch it happen;
Mittened and galoshed children splash through the puddles,
Which will soon be the only reminders that it ever happened at all.

But while the puddles, the men and even the children will be gone before long,
Always, always, the city remains.

——-

‘Your name froze on the winter air
An empty bench in Soho Square
Forgotten now I turn away
Just save me for a rainy day.’
Kirsty MacColl, ‘Soho Square’

Sorely missed.