We would carry ourselves like ships,
past the queues outside clubs, past
the gangs who would loiter outside the
fried chicken shops, who would attempt
to converse with the passing girls, much
to the annoyance of the feasting rats.
Past the doormen, who hung like bloated
visions of death, grinding their jaws under
the influence of the products they turned their
bulbous blind eyes to, their heads hungry
for any kind of limb-to-face contact, if only
just to pass the time.
Then in the confinements of these holes,
we stand in packs, hoping the others here
will stop to drain the strangeness we believed
we had to offer, but who just wonder past,
oblivious to our yearnings, and leave us
seeking even emptier vessels.
We then sailed past curbs littered with green plastic
bottles, empty meal cartons and those left crying
In heaps, and all this time the wind never changed
direction, despite our pleading that never seemed
that genuine, and again we are carried forward,
our sails never torn.
Why Eric Left
He decided to leave us with the smallest
amount of grace. His reputation un-marred
except for this little indiscretion.
Found in his wardrobe in the most uncompromising
of positions; a practical joke that never reached the
punch line (according to his father at least).
We had not laid eyes upon him for years, but always
heard his voice, like a faint breeze through rape seed
fields, when ever his name was mentioned.
The very fields we had watched him burn and trample
as we cheered at his heroics, that he fueled with
his vodka bottle and joint; as he shimmered in our
compliments, illuminating our deadened afternoons.
And in that wardrobe, he would have reflected on our
praise and loyalty, his last gleam of dignity, holding
on to his well earned title, or so we hoped.
Our Last Song
The joyful busker stands tuneless,
but still drawing crowds outside the
second-hand store, the wet pavement
of the city's street now different this
Stolen slang and over-polished words
are spread across billboards and half
torn posters like a scripture no-one can
muster up the effort to preach.
The surrounding bushes that mask
a sea of hypodermics and nestling
rats, offers no respite for running
thieves; the only available shelter
around here costs forty pounds a night
Ourselves, however, are no longer a
nightmare, unlike we were told before
our heads were fully formed, and were able to
run on rain drenched roads, our sins reduced
yet still choking on our legend.
Jonathan Butcher has had work appear in various print and online publications. His debut chapbook 'Concrete Cradle' has been published by Fire Hazard Press.