Among those stalls I would be dragged
each Saturday, past the transparent
fabrics and rotting fish, the sellers that
would yell with warm aggression, and the
old ladies dragging bags and wariness,
with an enthusiasm matched only by their
And the comforts on sale here are a priceless
luxury to those that frequent each week. A slight
sense of pride would shimmer from those trinkets,
that would normally remain discarded by the ones
uneducated in worth, ignorant in value; their tones
falling on deafened ears.
The rotting vegetables melting into each wooden
shelf like soiled candle wax would frame the isles
paved with white plastic and smeared in weeks old
offal and flies. Then blinding white lights would
reflect at intervals off the shower of fish scales, that
would emanate from the monger's expert hands.
And towards the exit we would finally crawl, that blend
of stenches offering little respite, and as we once again
inhale that almost forgotten breathable air, and enter a
light which illuminates rather than blinds, and we move
on to more glossier emporiums, which never somehow
shine the same way.
Now even this chair has become stagnant. Myself,
its ever compliant mould, I grace it with my presence
each morning. My fatigue never extenuated enough
to the point of collapse.
The jagged keys remain as filthy as yesterday, their
fading letters like a fisherman's rope, encrusted with dead
skin and blood stained dust, that still seems to creep its
way into my resisting lungs.
That concentrated breath, that is focused upon each
morning in this empty space. The bustle of voices and
screaming lights delays my sensors like radio static,
a situation you would avoid, like conversations
with coppers or landlords.
Over the clashing chatter my brain scrambles, a different
picture each time, the limited light straining the vision.
Each face here remains void, watching the clocks slowly
climb that greased mountain, never reaching its summit.
No longer does the magpie's response
hold any weight, my salute is now devoid of silver.
Offering autonomy at the cost of indifference,
my step again more lighter for the gamble.
Now my fingers stroke with confidence the cracks
on both windows and pavements, like a prisoner's
first touch of wild grass after a life time of bars
and darkness; my new shoes remain firmly on the table.
That inner whisper has now lost its repressive guidance.
No guilt felt anymore at acts that never stained my
conscience once they were drenched in sense. The weight
never drowned me, until I mustered up the need for air.
My eyes now seem saucer like, yet only absorb the
the same amount of light as before. Out of the garbage
I crawl with the usual tentative footsteps, and still keeping
my balance, but now with a stench far more sweeter.
Jonathan Butcher has had poetry published in various print and online publications. His second chapbook 'Broken Slates' has been published by Flutter Press.
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