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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reality Check: On the Kerb

The Paint of Shadows
August 2007

summer sweats off dirty clouds:
the rain dies on the kerb,
its blood bleeds dry    on
hands of the season making our
concrete beds for the night,
   on wet leaves and hot stones
the smell of shit and semen,
we huddle under the hedgerows
for protection:    we witness winter
always arriving too early
   and the dawn a stark sheet
pulled from over heads
squinting sleepily   hoping
the mind knows to persuade
the stomach to go on
   empty for another day:
the black paint of shadows
stick to shoes   worn through
asking God to find you
some money, but you're still
   waiting as the shops
unfold their open signs
closed to you    who
walk under the wing of night,
our skin is torn coat
   with open mouth sucking in
the sweat from dirty clouds;
too hungry to think    as
the blood dies in you and
the rain dries in your eyes.

Survival Mode
September 2007

1-    leaving the streets felt like
    betrayal
of all
I had seen:

2-    pretentious even
thinking anything would change
except for you and the insomnia

3-    that follows on through
   once you're
       on-off-on
           the drugs
of the street: your mind can't switch
       off-on-off
   its responses, the sounds
you still hear
in the night, sleeping light
in survival mode:

4-             even though the stories
are an echo, the sun rising now
isn't that sun, because now you're warm,
      the illuminations
      shadows cast are newborn
cotton drapes of innocent shapes
refocused in waking to the smell
of hearth and family and newly
brewed coffee in the morning,
a world safe antisceptic clean:

5-    life was a warning
retreating back
      down-out-down
          the sidewalks
               thin, fleeting stalks
of a Caesarean section: ripped
      out-down-out
   from civilisation's womb,
you never know what sound is where
in a tomb of invisibility;

6-   fingers are shaking
from cold and uncertainty,
bending over and getting fucked
by pity 'til every orifice
stops feeling,
   which can be a good thing:
you need to be numb to look life in the eye;
it's more than just survival,
you keep looking down at ground level
'cause its less judgemental;

7-    what pretention
thinking of change
except for you

8-    leaving the streets feeling like
    betrayal
of all
the street had seen.

Dreaming of the Streets
November 2008

Street, you gave me a pair of

        (thin, white
    revealing)

pants for bed and I didn't
know what they were

        for. You talked about
Jeff Buckley singing Hallelujah

        (you crept
        beside me)

wanting more. All
I did was turn over

        (in my

        (denim blue
    tightly buttoned)    jeans)

and pretend to snore.

You wrapped me up

        (in your furry, brown
    baby blanket)

stinking warm as bear hide;
and I wondered

    who made you
so vulnerable, if

        (someone tried

        (ever
    in your life)    to listen)

but sleep was a saviour;

I was gone, and

        (when I woke up)

so were you.

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