Thursday, July 30, 2015


Come and study the sadness of the street;
See the shopfront relics of enterprise
When it was free and wild spirits would greet
You with a smile, and friendship in their eyes.

That one has a curved window -
Smudged and dirty now -
But once polished and buffed like a diamond,
So the red meat would display like plated rubies,
Glowing amongst scattered plastic ferns -
Greener than green -
Recalling techniques before freezers.
Back in the day opening the door would reveal the sawdust floor,
Familiar faces, all shapes and sizes,
Bulging string bags full of prizes wrapped in white paper,
Blue aprons striped with broken bars,
And the mysteries of the chiller
From which miracles emerged -
Bits of beasts dressed and ready for carving or halving
With knives sharpened on a shining steel,
Surrendering first to the chops of a fearsome cleaver,
Pounding like thunder on the bloody bludgeoned block -
It seemed the giant joints and singled sides had all materialised
Inside that invisible infinite space between the cool room's walls.

This one is tiny like a cubby house.
Can you smell the musk?
Or can you taste the liquorice?
Have you three pennies - thrippence -
Or maybe a zack?
Either way, you're fit for a feast,
And you'll come back.

A few doors down you might swear you can still smell cabbage.
The floorboards are so worn they are concave between the beams.
There are scars on the wall where displays of produce once hung,
Tempting, and tumbling if disturbed by the wrong, clumsy, hands.
Perhaps your ears ring with the echo of a cash register,
Or your eyes close to imagine scales swaying like a hypnotist's charm.
Then the man behind the counter winks
And puts an extra apple in your brown bag.

Come and study the sadness of our streets;
See the shopfront relics of enterprise
That thrived before the fancy fictive feats
Of malls and plazas, robbers in disguise.

No comments: