Money for old rope


This is the street of pavement beats
of ropes of people safe in the sway.
The rousing song, hummed, then lost
to the taxi driver and glass bottle bays.

This is the street where people sweep round
wheelie-bin eddies and drum 'n' bass cars.
The slow effervescent channel of fizz
of would-bes, could-bes, hanging in bars.

This is the street stink of hops and hope
of Saturday night, and level with nose
of oil from engines, ironing-board shirts
sweet-smelling urine beneath your toes.

This is the street you long to belong in
with friends to hold as stilettoed girls fall
pulling in numbers, looking for others
hauled to the draw and thrill of the thrall.

This is the street where you become sober
to the sound of a trumpet two streets away,
to the stench of the beer being washed over,
to the joy of the peddlar hosing the day.

By Mary Cunningham