Thursday, September 28, 2006

Angel Alley

By Adam Gibson

we walk through the Heathrow streets at dawn,
we gather in the local pubs east of Angel Alley
and the flat skies of England above
the rows of houses gather slowly to permanent dusk;

and how I went to Fulham in the night,
in the dark lonely London night, on buses,
the black Houses of Parliament,
near where I worked on a building site
and heard the bells and chimes from the Abbey
as I swept floors and carried wood.

London still exists

afternoons in the coldest winter of my soul,
going all the way to Speaker's Corner
just to hear people speak
of damnation and sex
and sporadic ramblings of the innermost bell-clang
of jumbled thoughts.

London still exists

and we went home through the streets still cobbled with stones,
the low gutters towards and past the E1
and past Angel Alley streets lined with
bright fruit stalls of the street market on cold street,
and the cold faces past Ilford and the Island
and the girls in black jackets
smoking Silk Cuts at bus stops

London still exists

and the lorries passing through Wapping and
the Angel Alley sadness of descending days
or expiring work visas, loves we lost,
in Jamaican-sounding summers on trips to the Westway,
to Portabello pubs across mini-cab nights
and Nigerian navigation back through football streets
reverberating from Stamford Bridge and across to night
to the home of the Hammers,
the men in their colours with oversized cans of Tennants

London still exists

on the underground arteries and
the black soot tunnels that
Make you believe that Victoria is still on the throne
And Dickens is hiding in a filthy enclave
ready to grab your arm with filthy-fingered glove.

the slanting terraces
extending across threading streets and
all the sadness that descends upon me;
the low-pressure bathtaps,
the lime-fuzz around the top of the kettle,
the rim of the pots.

London still exists

and the jet-black girl who stood close to me on a bus
who didn't move despite the opportunity
and the complicit illicit smile she gave me on leaving
after 20 minutes of our knees touching,
and how she is now more lost to me
than anything can possibly be

London exists
London exists right now

in Angel Alley
and beyond.

notes on poem: well this one's self-explanatory, i suppose. Written about the time i spent in London, and also the dreams i had of London before i went there and "idea" of London most Australians grow up with in their minds. Also, it's referencing the line from the Go-Betweens's song "And London no longer exists", plus the Waifs' song, 'London Still' and the old Little Heroes classic 'One Perfect Day'.


kaz said...

i would like to argue that the men were carrying oversized cans of tennEnts...and not people who rented flats.....


Adam Gibson said...

i stand suitably corrected

thanks Kaz

Anonymous said...

By the way Adam, this poem is your best since "Incommunacado"