Tuesday, 23 June 2015

One Sunday in London

One Sunday in London

by Mark Sadler

In the doldrums of
a June weekend
I spied through the
stretched-out dregs
of a foamy lace-work
clinging to the interior of a pint glass,
the remnants of a Sunday carvery -
a slender side of beef
too narrow to stand upright,
it's rough-hewn upturned face
a sunburned pink
with the texture of abraded rope.

The landlord, who had a
predilection for fanciful re-tellings
of London history,
that elbow-nudged his establishment
towards the centre of things,
was idly boasting
to a foreign tourist
drinking at the bar:
This is the oldest pub in the city.”

(This happens concurrently at multiple locations across the capital)

Miles away,
unnoticed by the endless footfall
on the Charing Cross Road,
a tarred shadow, infused with the totality
of night that has steeped for hours
in its own fermenting darkness,
was leaking from the black-washed walls
of a guitar shop
out through the open doorway
where it obliterated
the pale mid-afternoon shade
that laid delicate, faint overlapping patterns
of roving legs and static street furniture
onto the paving slabs.

In the square mile
the mirror glass of the tall buildings
captured blurry fragments of the surrounding skyline
as indistinct as the outline of a distant
hedgerow draped in morning fog

and the open columned steeple
of a city church put stone bars
across a rectangle of blue sky

and on the cornice stones of bridges
small trees slanted towards
the nearest unobstructed source of light;
scouted out small speculative territories;
poised to reclaim the city.

Far away
at the Southernmost
extremities of the Northern Line
a man reached from his
hospice bed to brush
the white-washed wallpaper
of an unfamiliar room
with his finger tips
as if the embossed pattern
were Braille

The randomness of
the bumpy texture
matched perfectly
the shifting patterns
of small wavelets
on the choppy surface
of the river Thames.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Poem written after listening to 'Coming Up' – the third album by Suede and some other songs by Suede

A half-empty packet
of smoky bacon
flavoured crisps
flutters from the window
of a high rise block of flats,
raining greasy crumbs
of fried potato
over Suede world,
where the pigs don't fly

And where a man called Terry,
silhouetted in soft focus
behind flimsy 
flesh-coloured curtains,
sits alone in his one-bedroom flat,
naked but for a
synthetic feather boa
purchased from the Pound Shop,
eating cold Happy Shopper
baked beans
straight from the tin.

Down in the forecourt
Jane sells the Ford Focus
where her boyfriend died
on the back seat
from auto-erotic asphyxiation
after wrapping himself
in cellophane that
he purchased from
an all-night garage
beside a motorway
in Suede World,
where everyone is frankly
a bit tired and sore
from all the rough sex
they are having,
and the street drugs
they are constantly taking,
and the looming threat of
impending nuclear war,
that weighs heavy
on their minds
like a Monday morning hangover
from the early 1980s.

Far away
in leafy North London
Brett Anderson
stands before his Argos
flat-pack wardrobe,
selects from the rail
the shirt with the most
man-made fibres,
pulls it on
but leaves it half-unbuttoned,
steps out into the feral darkness
of Hampstead.