Wednesday, 19 February 2014

from Blackwater Quartet, selection 4

London Calling

The cold of this season blanks the trees.
The sap curls catlike in the roots.
On the panes, a map of ice unfurls.
I read its longitude uncertainly, a foreigner
lost in foreign spheres, breathless on my brittle axis.

My children prosper in this kingdom.
They swallow rage the English way, and learn
to speak the language.

Along the platforms underground
the Tube soot settles on the tourist,
and posters promise paradise, for postcodes in Sloane Square.

The Archangel of True Love queues for Blackfriars,
wings tucked ragged in a tattered mac, a self
we conjured through the twenty years of vows

we made.

London burns, for us a fire forever.

The city’s wet slate, turf
sodden with a month of rain, and shoe leather wrung dry
in daily ritual, these artefacts eclipse the tropic lightning.
Mornington Crescent’s rank, dissembling lift
disappears with one long kiss,
and watery sun fine-tunes the city’s pallor.

My face stares back
in standing pools of rain, a Cubist lithograph
lost in diesel percolations.
The contrails fade into the middle distance,
you looking back, again the smile, the blowing kiss full-profile,
a Serpentine vignette we trust to willowy,
Pre-Raphaelite daughters.

copyright 2004-2014 Estill Pollock

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