Imagine being someone else
Their weight of history. Their different hair.
Your nails a different shape. You don’t like tea.
Imagine being your mum. Or your dad.
How does that feel? I thought so.
Imagine being younger than you,
or even a teenager ffs.
Does it increase the fear, or reduce it?
Try the view from your new window and relax.
You’ve left that job, thank goodness,
or you’ve finally got it, ibid.
Let’s find that café on the rebuilt corner
where you discover you prefer upstairs.
Afternoons are better now.
There’s a man, with a friendly dog. Tartan blanket.
Yellowy fingers. (Do you smoke?)
You look at your watch, panic you’ve lost it
then remember you wear it on the other side.
You shake your head, to an unasked question.
Let’s go home. It’s this way, or is it that way?
No, it’s this way.
No. It’s that way.
Swindon Road, Saturday 6pm
the peacock hour. White trainers,
bulbous Stellas. Hair cut this afternoon,
sculpted and steered round neck spots.
The game begins. The girls carry thin-
stemmed flamingos of pink wine. Wide
eyes under wide lashes, tight
dresses pulled over triangular shadows.
Make-up, mirror, manoeuvre.
By eight they are gone. A man on a stool
looks through the football. From a window
he can see six church spires, lit cheerfully,
pointing to an infinite blackness.
The fruit machine entertains itself.
Round the corner, the club is audible.
It metronomes the night, its loudness
a reassurance you’re spending life well.
In the distance, a siren. Spots of rain.
Tiring of money, I decided to levitate.
Above nickel pavements
I saw a sun, bronze as a new penny
and from the top of Canary Wharf
spears gleaming silver, windows
glossed with diamond.
It’s a suicide as any other, of course
but falling upwards is the preserve of the very poor.
It’s why it doesn’t get reported
and is often treated with derision.
Still, at least it proves
we’re not, after all, controlled by the state.
You can do it as slowly as you like.
Try it, over the next few decades.
Mark Blayney won the Somerset Maugham Prize for Two Kinds of Silence. His latest short story collection, Doppelgangers, is available from Parthian as is his spoken word collection Loud music makes you drive faster. A regular performance poet and MC, Mark’s been longlisted for the National Poetry Prize and has been published in Agenda, The London Magazine, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Wales and writes regularly for Wales Arts Review.
Banner image: Copyright © Anna Hughes. Find out more about Anna’s work here.
Author photo © Jo Mazelis.