Working late

You leave the office far too late.
You don’t get the tube, instead letting yourself stumble
Through the ice-cold indifference of a London night.

The black is not as black as it should be.
Strangers’ screen-scorched eyes reflect
Nauseous fluorescence back to yours.

The souvenir shops are strobe lights;

A flicker in your peripheral vision–
Show your loved ones that you care.

A flicker in your peripheral vision–
This is the person you could be.

A flicker in your peripheral vision–
Buy into the brand.

Street lamps barf sickly orange glow
Onto pavements paved in piss.
Office buildings twinkle in a souless sky.

You long for that perfect black.
That uninterrupted eyes-shut black.
You are tired.

For the first time in months, you are aware
Of every passing second
And the significance that each one lacks.

From Regent’s Park to Waterloo,
You pass the landmarks that you learnt
From when your parents watched the news;

Armed police at Downing Street,
Big Ben scaffold-caged,
The London Eye stopped still.

You’ve not yet acquired the taste for London air,
So dense with pollution that the cold doesn’t bite the way it should.
You’ve been walking for hours.

From Westminster Bridge, the Thames is dark velvet.
Whispers of silver shimmer in its weft;
Deep pile cradles a watery moon.

You know that this would be so perfect
If the night were as black as it should be.

[02/03/2020]

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