London Sonata

Morning dawns so late
these afternoons,
but still the rage lingers,
hibernating in the cold room
under Indian blankets
piled high as Teddy Bear’s
docile nose,
slipping out for tea and toast
long past the hour
when those who choose ethical labor
instead of poems to live by
have gone about their grim business.

It is not the social contract
kept or broken
at which my anger,
one spoonful of honey please
and thank you just a drop of cream,
strikes headlong down the days
of winter come too soon;
but liking my cigarettes tipped,
butter and fresh jam,
eggs over easy and ashtrays
wiped spotlessly clean,
it is my own lack of enlightened
that gnaws a chilled bone
of resentment
before the gas fire
and the downstairs loo.

Only yesterday
the carpet man said
he won’t pay anything
like fair profit
for my Persian rugs,
so with only five hundred
quid on the floor
what else can I do
but ride the Underground
with an IOU?

Yes, hold the bacon;
vegetarian, you know.
When spring comes
I’ll go to Greece,
see if those sly dogs at Athos
have found an answer
to the drain of shillings.
The gas meter has a crying thirst.


First published in Iron magazine (issue 32), Tyne & Wear, England