A Poem in Which

I’m suited and booted for a temp job in the City
in 1990, uniformed doormen in a plate-glass foyer,
then home to a mattresses on the floor, windows rattled
by traffic on the North Circular,

front room full of liquorish guitar leads and practice amps,
Dave’s hash delivered by motorbike courier, a start/stall
love affair, then another, the reek of Tony’s barbershop
products seeping under the door,

crashing the scooter, watching the wall fall, Simon back
with a bloody shirt front after by-standing at the Poll Tax
riot, his nose broken by a truncheon, a split bin-bag
in the rain by the launderette, machine-warm clothes

blotting up a puddle, Bob’s midnight-flit to escape
the law; and after this, your version of grace, exotic, familiar.
Roy Marshall


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