"An ever-intriguing writer."
"A genuine talent."



The House That Dennis Severs Built

Illuminated by fading candlelight,
I stand in silence on the first floor
of a terraced Georgian house on Folgate Street.
The smell of rose-hip and pomanders permeates.
There are discarded playing cards and empty oyster shells.
There is broken bone china and an unmade four-poster bed.
Huguenot silk-weavers huddle in the basement below.
A 21-gun salute sounds in the dilapidated tenement above.
The bells of St. Mary Spital prepare to chime out the hour.
I stand here, gazing into a cracked vanity mirror
hung against a painted wall. And the face
that I can see gazing silently back at me,
illuminated by the fading candlelight,
looks as if it’s being reflected in a cloud of smoke.
Or should that be smog?
Faded at the corners and daguerreotype hazy.
And the longer I stand here, silently gazing
at this turbid looking-glass visage of myself,
the more I appear to be steadily ageing.
Like Rod Taylor trapped in a George Pál stop-frame animation.
Crow’s feet deepening at the edges of my eyes.
Capillaries cracking beneath the skin on my cheeks.
Flecks of white sprouting all about the beard-line.
Outbreak of liver spots and the onset of Type Two diabetes.
Impotence, dementia and onrushing rigor mortis.
The blowflies arriving to lay their eggs.
My body fat slowly turning to soap.
Meanwhile, away from the gas-lamps and the ticking
of the grandfather clock, away on the other side of town,
a young man lies bare-chested on the pavement near Oxford Street
- sucking early evening air through an open chest wound.
Her Majesty’s police are unrolling their plastic caution tape.
It takes a moment for the eyes to adjust back
to the third generation technology and the closed-circuit TV’s.
At the end of the day, you either see it or you choose not to.
Aut Visum Aut Sumo Non.

18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields

185-187 Oxford Street, Westminster



Post a Comment

<< Home