Cityscape in Winter

The wounded town haemorrhages
its people, two million pillars of
salt looking back, as the cars
light-up the arteries in white and
red with comings and goings: the takings
		and leavings of fate.

Many voices are heard from
windows and doors, behind walls,
in beds, great subterranean movements
are heaving the plates upon
which we rest, assuming our floors are firm.

The wounded town is patched
and scored with old arrows, old
sores - it stands like bones
enduring 	the padding and thinning
		the feeding and fasting
of flesh as the years wear it
and its rock weathers storms.

Incomer, I come from the red lands
of soft stones, stately roads,
tree groves, where the people
are rich and I eat well
		on their leavings.

I have no car, so I quietly pass
on foot, in pain, with the scarrings
and the sores of old wounds
that will not heal, that make me
grovel as the ground shakes:
I have seen it when it opens
and hell gapes - I was half
		way in.

Now, memories of wings sustain me,
of fountains and fruit, of mountains
and routes the deer walk slow, grazing.
I am awake here, yet I dream
of pasts gone, yet I do not look
back: miraged, my past
fronts me like lightning,	
		striking my way.

	Can I fly, impeded, can I fly, broken -
	can wings that are not mine, open -
	and bear me to where the air
	is clean and blood does not flow?

	Do the gates of love stand wide
	to welcome me and heal?

	Do the clouds of hope hover
	to stop my breath with heaven?

	Does the child I was still live
	in my mother's arms?	

I feel the tremor start, the ground
shakes and the city people scream
granite towers withstand the
warning and flocks of birds take
to the sky - I watch them
wheel above the civic statues -

		in cold floes, the
city haemorrhages figures:
		estate agents mobbed
		stocks and shares won
and sold, the money trade
old as life - outside the people
scrape the pavements, looking for food.

	I walk beneath the archways

	I like the cobbled streets

	I stop to look at trees and 
	chapels, dream of many places
	I have flowed through like blood
	carried to be cleaned, expunged,
	and out the other side - fresh roads
		fresh arteries
		new hearts.

Here are high skies and pink sunsets,
new loads.  This city is hard-
edged and makes me tired: I
lock my doors and sleep, hoping
not to dream, and, mornings
I have a cold awakening: to

grey light and motorcades, to
strip clubs and  homelessness on
corners with blankets, caps and coins
to drugs and dons, to sea
and beauty, dirty buildings,
rubbish, and soulless pubs -

	I wonder, would she approve?

	I wonder, would I be here
	if I had somewhere else to go?

	If blood were thicker than water
	and my world not covered with snow

	could I live better?
	would my heartbeat grow?
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