It starts the day as a sleepy realm
Of dawn mists
Nuzzled like purring cats
Into the corners of the port,
Vapours sheltering in the coves
As if gatherings of ghosts
Had sought half-hidden havens
In the sun on the watery gateway
To an embezzled land
Where the thieves are served
By prisoners prised from purgatory.
Soon the searing heat of the day
Burns off the morning's blurs.
Infinite variations of blue
Bewitch and baffle shaded eyes.
Only the distant thin lips
Of the far western horizon
Breathe bad air -
Sky scarred into an ugly sepia,
Becoming a stressed stain
Streaked muddy brown
By the pollution
Belched by a wretched work force -
Another stolen generation -
Dispossessed captives enslaved
Or surviving in welfare’s graves.
The towers of the city flaunt
Their facades, made of fake emeralds,
Bogus gems changing from green to grey
As the sweltering day’s lustre
Tumbles towards twilight and then the darkness.
Sandstone walled shores stand wet from wakes
Of ferries and fleets of affluence,
While the lower levels
Of high-rise apartment blocks
Bristle with iron bars and grates
Like ancient castles prone to assault.
Narrow city streets and suburban rat-runs
Curl and curve like underfed snakes,
Suffocating forsaken forlorn histories
And threatening to thwart modern mysteries.
Terraced hills grow concrete and steel
As if the foundations belonged there.
But so few are the remnants of the real
That harsh truth will never be heard again
And the legends are all being rewritten
To suit a newer, more palatable mythology,
In which today’s crooks can never be convicted.