In a doorway littered with the shells of dead fireworks,
he unpacks his haversack of automata:
a tin peacock, a magician,
a monkey in evening dress.

He winds each with a key from his necklace,
sets them down amongst cigarette ends and pearls of phlegm.
Across the street, the fishmonger
lifts his shutters with a metal hook.
The monkey puffs on a meerschaum,
pistons arpeggiating behind piss-yellow teeth,
the smoker’s palsy, the stutter of escarpments,
the whiskered lips.

Rain begins,
hot droplets that stink of engine oil.
A cigarette salesman drapes a sheet of clear plastic
over his red and gold cartons. Shoppers
shuffle shoulder to shoulder, dodging puddles.
A little girl in a blue cagoule
stops and gapes
at the tin peacock pecking at the pavement,
rucking its flaked, dim wings
before a hand grasps her earlobe,
wrenches her into the flow.

If you enjoyed this I rather think you’ll like my poetry collection, Pub Stuntman. You can order it here.

You also might like my album of songs and poems, Jesus Buys Me Cigarettes. You can order a physical copy here, or download it from iTunes.

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