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A poem for Birmingham
I like the way you loop your arm
around my waist, beckon me on
from Eastside to Brindley Place,
Offer me oysters, red-eye fish,
candy-floss, diamonds big as raindrops.
You offer me blue waterfalls, a spire
that pierces the air like a needle,
and everyday a vast moving stock
of new people – the boy hugging home
his double-bass, the woman who dreams
herself down the gallery steps.
At St. Martin’s, you conjure a version
of the trembling bubble a child might blow,
how it becomes a thousand silver suns
against the sky blue, a navigation
point from space.
In this falling I don’t recognise myself,
my eyes are losing their middle-age gauze,
primroses bloom through concrete walls,
canals rise, make noisy waves, and the mirror
reflects back a radiant stranger.
I like this lover’s journey,
the offering up of each new secret
as surprising as the one before.
You take me dancing, point out
the clarinet notes escaping, like steam
through an open window. If ever
there were streets paved with gold
they’re here in this quarter.
‘bend close’ you say and you will see
the specks of brilliance walked into pavements
left as routinely as the memory of snow.
Autumn comes on, gutters bubble
with October rain. You offer me your coat
red and warm. I pull it round myself,
it becomes a skin, a cashmere drape,
evidence of love and it’s heart-shaped.