Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Long Walk Through Hoxton


Through housing trust towers of red brick blocks
Old Street littered with Perfect Fried Chicken
Pit bull terriers foaming the leash
scooter bikes tipped in Union Canal -
a shaft of light ran through the estate

The day was sad,
I thought I’d lost him,
like dandelion cotton out of my palm
my own paranoia a catalyst crown as
liquid eyeliner streamed down my cheeks
staining my collar, headphones clipped on -
a dark tunnel twisted down to the park
where a beautiful tree sat in full bloom
a broken branch dangling in the sun

Under its leaves burned red as a blister
I stroked at its bark,
admiring the colour
this tree had
witnessed it all
– pastures, paddocks, boats and high rises
right across Pitfield’s primrose edged lawns

A shadow crept up
tapped me on the shoulder,
an old lady from across the way
wearing a pinny, scent of Anais Anais
“That’s my tree” she said,
her transparent hands pointing above
“Stan, he rescued it years ago,
dug up the weeds, cut down the ivy
just look at it now, 20ft high”

She pulled off a leaf
put it into my satchel
“He died last year.
The two of us would sit
eating shortbread, holding hands
on Sunday afternoons just like this”

The lady reached up, to the branch overhead
broken in two by white van hooligans
“See this tree, it’s all I’ve got now..
you have to look after
the things that you love”


I smiled at her,
she gave me a hug
unexpected from a cockney born pensioner
and I walked back home
to the flat with two cats
dim in the basement
picked up the phone
and whispered ‘I love you’
a bright red leaf
held in my palm
brown leather book laid open
on my lap,
his face stared out
from a photocopied card
voice reassuring
north eastern, from the heart


Adelle Stripe

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's really sad, but I can't stop from hearing that northern accent, an accent which I don't even know what sounds like.........

Ethan Zara said...

Liked the rhythm.

-Ethan
Backpacking on Little Money