On the other side

On the other side he’s a blank sun and wave less sea

on the other side he’s a circle with no sides

a cow suspended in formaldehyde

a long continuous toneless note

a flutter of bright green wings

a screech striking out like an arrow into blue

a frame around a blank canvas

the sun striking down upon Waterloo Bridge like it did yesterday, the day before, the month and year before

the CD on repeat in the coffee shop marking 1pm, 2pm, 3pm.


His face, a voice says.

It’s a 1 in 3 ratio, I’m just saying.


A laugh and a woman in a blue coat stuffing a turquoise folder into a pink bag.


I mean everyone talks about Liverpool. But I mean hello! What about Arsenal? Arsenal have exactly the same points as everyone else but all people can talk about is how shit they are.


And still the red buses trundle round and round the round about and no one says anything. No says anything about  being on the other side.


No one says anything though Despair has just walked through the door and left it open and flung his coat and woolly hat on the table. 

He’s in the yogurt machines with their deafening risible clattering on and off. The creak of the white door leading to the wash room. The voices again, back at the bar and talking about football.


If it weren’t a Wednesday it could be a Sunday.


But one can’t quite sink in front of a fire eating hot toast clammy with butter watching a Western or staring at the fog pressing at the window. Besides it’s budget day and Ed Milliband is making his response.


The voices disappear to a hum like electric blue light on a distant hill. Despair watches. He looks to see that everything is done right.


The spoons must be stood up correctly in the toppings display amidst peering eyes wearing peaked caps and long black artistic coats. Even corporate men must look like people pretending to be artists these days.


It’s 2.15 and a woman with a pre teen orders a Corona and fizzy pop for the kid. The kid walks in circles, round and round the cafe, whilst the woman gently sips her drink, the lemon pert perched in the neck of the bottle. She has conned everyone into getting a free cinema ticket and people shrug and say, Good for her.


The young man sitting opposite sinks lower into his puff jacket though he pulls out a pair of spectacles and hangs them on his nose. He hopes the woman notices, he keeps flicking her looks.


Despair understands as he watches from the window. Any man would probably shag her. If it came down to it, if he were allowed, if he could get away with it, he would. This is what the young man thinks, faced with such attraction.


Despair looks and settles on the blue reflective jacket picking up rubbish in the jungle underpass out side. He disappears into a blue tunnel amidst the wails of the homeless and the stink of piss.


It’s dark now.


The Ivy trailing from the roof is like the legs of a tarantula. It segments the sky into ovals, it partitions a tower block onto its own little canvas, a lone street lamp onto another, the dull grey station into the next segment. It could be a triptych.


The people in the cafe have changed. But they drink out of the same cups the same concoctions made by the same hands hour after hour after hour.


Despair wonders whether he can leave.


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