Unreal City

For W. B. Yeats

technicalities of the word City
the bright red devil
soldiers, freaks
and all in between

architecture spills like scattered pebbles
homes built for heroes
concrete monoliths
Georgian terraces
and a great ocean liner
beached on the shoreline
great green domes
steps bowed from years of feet
south coast sprawl
and we are in a wind tunnel
you and I
aerodynamics found wanting
and duck into the slipstream

teapots dot the horizon
descending weather ball silenced
follies and fragments
the machinery of whim

hunched round the back of shops
I see the future in Orange Row
someone elses hands grow liver spots
in neon light
homeless starlings circle uncertainly
echoing cell formation in a futile dance
a sea voyage on wheels
another gust
and 40 pence postcards spin with the leaves
dreams of reformed piers
and dolphins that never were

the seafront is littered with sequels
nightclubs reshuffle in endless repeat
the concorde is full of fish
whilst a lift to nowhere stands forlorn
projects shudder to a halt on the front pages
circling like merry go round
with a Möbius strip
of barrel organ
these are the satisfied horses

one February day
the ghost train caught fire
sharing a bottle of wine
on seafront
it was bonfire night
children huddled
in hats and scarves
padded the shingles for a better view
all that was missing was the sparklers

seagulls wake with the dawn
the mournful peep of the young
searching for the red button
the food dispenser
and the full throated
call to the sky
of their elders
seagulls live a long time

and in answering chorus
from hotels and apartment lofts
windows slam shut
lovers turn and spoon
and visiting businessmen writhe
wrap pillows futilely round heads
these are not the sounds of the city

the end of the line
bill boards shriek improbable phrases
dawn breaks
a morning stroll
half blind
the viaduct in snow
that melts within minutes of settling
forking paths

this is not the city of legends
of angels
the windy city
the streets are not paved in gold
but chewing gum
and warnings not to drop chewing gum
Siamese twins
at the hip

there’s a shark in the water
the beaches are closing
candy floss melts on the stick
at the Marina
the floating Chinese restaurant breaks free
nose to the east
a bear gets loose on west street
and hundreds of panicking clubbers
snap the glowing cones
as oceana sinks
gently
into the ground
the main event
the pavilion shudders
as blood drips from the palms
of the statue of George IV
books pop into existence
a hundred a minute
on the first floor of the Jubilee library
screaming librarians
running out of places to put them
the model shrimp
having devoured the whelk stall
storms the fishing museum
for fresh meat
in cafes
croissants drop to the ground
full English breakfast abandoned
with sausage still pinioned
and egg running everywhere
the honey club?
a mass of swarming bees
spelling out directions
by dancing to funky house
the North Laine is filled with electricians
grocers, cobblers, stationers, ironmongers
running over boutiques and juice bars
whilst crystals and dream catchers heap up on the street corner
students start using the word “real”
to describe actual real things
there is a walrus in regency square
although no-one really knows why
the open market is closed
despite the name
swimmers in the prince regents
all get cramp at the same time
a thousand screaming crows
descend on the bird whistle man
who falls skeletal to the ground
leaving jaunty cap and sign
the zombie walk gets attacked
by actual unimpressed zombies
with no known survivors
the falmer stadium
snaps shut
trapping the audience
who are forced to watch
perpetual re-runs
of that Crystal Palace game in ‘86
but nobody really notices
on the beach
photographers run for tripods
and external flash
as the great wave hits
and loll in the undertow
one last great capture
buskers hit one final saxophone solo
which might never end
until dissolved
by precisely aimed lightning

Meanwhile,
Straight from southhampton
The Argus leads on
“Is this Sussex’s most expensive guinea pig?”
Whilst Adam Trimingham
Bemoans the rocketing price
Egg and chips will set you back these days
Unimpressed residents
Brush flecks of ash from their fountain pens
And ponder on the letters page
About how this will affect the weekly bin collection

Amidst the remains of the city
As survivors wait for buses that will never arrive
Or reconsider that move back to London
There comes a man
As it was written
His clothes bedecked with flames
With a music only he can hear
Dancing whilst Hove burns
Dancing, dancing, dancing
Dancing like there’s no tomorrow
Dancing like there’s no yesterday
Each step honed from hundreds of rehearsals
Resplendent in flaming suit
Amidst the smoking ruins
He dances on

One Response to Unreal City

  1. Pingback: The MechaPoet’s first performance | orbific

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