Luke Samuel Yates


The room is empty apart from the plants,
the people and all of the furniture.
Silence falls or is fed through speakers
and the vacuum of the hush
draws sound from our voices,
a chance gust through an exposed harmonica.

We make the sound of pigeons patrolling gutters
just outside windows, the pigeons in the gutters outside
copy as best they can
and from the window,
caught in the net curtains
is a commotion between a parking attendant
and a man unused to paying
for his mistakes.

Over the road, under a streetlamp
anomalously blazing already
a young man in a trenchcoat and a woman
in a headscarf paw at one another’s clothing.

People begin to leave. You assume
garb, adjust the collar, head for the exit.
Outside everybody seems to be talking about the weather.
You ignore them, you’ve decided you’re in a hurry.
A man in a bigger hurry still, talking loudly,
looking straight ahead
pushes past.

The tube station’s a plughole at this time of day,
whisking people down and in and around (they cling
to their oars in their own extended metaphors),
tossing others out in a flurry of momentum and newspapers

into the grid of the city
and the grind of its engine,
another lateral strut
for what some of us still call capitalism.


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