This light-dusted town, pocked with memories
drags these feet between old blocks. Patina shifts, and the
soils of years harden. I am swerved –
westward and that way, past new wives,
shivering children, bottle-green voices,
those who sell and those locked in
to hands scratching deep, having grappled at mornings –
the bakers have left, the workers are hid. Somewhere
the sun does its thing, defying the wash
of English temptations, of time spent downwards,
avoiding the days. A road appears – surprising
one who spent time abroad – yet it holds the usual
glittering discs, and tightly packed wraps
of chemical compounds all set for the night,
boxes for boxes, and watery tea
infused with the times of the river.
Fate cuts no hands, but my legs are compelled
to step down this path my tendons had lost. I’m struck
at a window, piled high with desires –
softly forced rocks, strung up on silver,
jaspers and jets, vivid value in earth,
selected for those who are pulled to pass on
slices of India, hacked out by a man
whose coalface was lamplit, decades ago.
My eye follows wands tipped sweetly with orbs
knocked out of amber, suspending old lives.
Passes through pages, tinted expressions
exclaiming small magics, ways to heal, odes to
even the lamest complaint –
I come to rest on the girl, caved in receipts, and
propped to the side of a pretty collection
of bangles and phone lines, old records, deceptions
reserved for those who know their base. A piece
of something catches my air, and movement
makes movement, we bend to the floor.
She knows the deals, chips me away,
shows me a stone that will change
my days. Time is eaten, and weeks petrify
in bed-shapes, hollows, ashtrays carbon-dating
various poses. We identify awhile
as one, yet something stops mouths,
even swollen and sore, I look at her stones
refusing her faith. Energy, auras, cosmic detritus
drop from rubbed lips; I harden and shift
such attrition occurs, as if this is
some type of natural process. Erosion erodes,
we are carried in rivers, washing up
somewhere, elsewhere in towns.
Now, walking, I notice the beaded masses
painted and plucked, and laden with stones.
New wives, shivering children,
gather at windows, gazing to wish
at millennia structured in glittering cuts –
a slice of India, something to pass
for those who can abide the noise.