Above, there are ghost signs,
messages from another time
carved into sandstone
set atop Palladian frames.
Below, orange moonglade—
cast of streetlights
and damp tarmac,
stretching out in the mist,
causing stray walkers to dance.
The air is thick with the smell
of rain and wet stone—
it takes you back,
to dry patches beyond the Grove,
beneath the chestnut trees
and tumbling structures—
this was where we’d shift,
feeling brazen with our wet hair
and mute phones.
There are whispers everywhere,
each lamp and brick a reminder—
down there, that’s where the Gingerbread
used be, where you could score a nodge—
even your voice would twist
in the telling, searching
for where that fucker used live—
they have all become myths,
once the lord of nameless streets.
Was any of it real?
Did you really see that runner’s
face smashed in? Is his body
still there, out beyond the Scout Hall,
buried in some leaves and twigs?
The paths lead beyond the streets,
to where the curbs are broken,
and the bounce of leather guides you down,
content you had escaped,
but eager to return,
to tell stories of your nomad existence
in the places you always tell stories—
you would speak of the emptiness,
the sheer and lifeless cliffs,
the uncontacted peoples
who set about you while seeking diesel—
hello, old friend, your mantra,
the words that bring some comfort
out of those myths, marking the way.