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.
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.
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