salt and sauce

Embra skyline

So you’re both light and dark,
taste sweet when you’re sour,
chase all hope to despair
and all the way back?

And there’s a field of green tears
for an injury-time winner:
salt and sauce pal?

With the sweet smile of reason
fixed in a dark-stained tenement grin,
a woman gives free hugs to all,
to a driver giving no change.
A boy plays in the Meadows
under the jaw of a whale.
A dog waits for its master
to return from the dead.

A quiet idealist
was once struck dumb by incomprehension
and the bus depot
must be made of copper.

Did I hate you?
How did that happen?
Do you love me?
Can you always?

With performances gracing
many miles from many nations
like aliens down dour, parochial streets,
you vault enlightened bridges
over sculpted gardens,
but always rock-shadowed
and wind-bitten to the core.

Oh that grim omniscient,
ever-present rock
marking one o’clock dead,
scaring the pigeons
with boiling tar poured down on men,
making history,
trapping tourists and selling them pictures.

Seagulls flock freely from afar
to resurrect cries of the condemned;
to spit on their final cells
and wish themselves good luck.
Their voices are hollow points.
Their call is pitilessly righteous.

An empty blue can rattles and tumbles
and so on along a well-kent path
to nights brighter than day.

Pale, trembling hands
search for scattered light in a doorway.
Well-tailored gloves
clasp a leather purse to their heart
and purse lips into words
as if through lace curtains.

Unmoving haar. Windy city
with ice where you blew your heart.

Do you hate me?
Can I ever love you?
Do you want me back?
Can you blame me?

The gulls are remorseless even yet,
yet now bright colours fly
finding their place in a sky
that to this boy seemed forever dreich.

Colours painted, faces proud,
nations fluttering,
new festive brewery fumes
and housing scheme songs.
There’s a dance of ideas going round
rational hopes
and bursting with rainbow exuberance.

All with an open fish supper
balanced on my knee,
and the final score in the paper
out just in time for tea.

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