His desperation dances in the drizzle in the puddles in the potholes on the bridge.
The layer after layer that gathers in his jacket is presented like a soggy badge of honour.
He stops to wipe his glasses on his shirt and then he listens as the River Don whispers at the sky.
'round the cobbled curves of Kelham Island, they say the streets shape like a diamond,
but don't let that deceive you;
'round here there's only rough.
They're full of missing persons that have never once been missed,
beneath the lampposts
and their mustard coloured mist.
According to Oscar Wilde:
"it has been said that the great events of the world
take place in the brain."
And right now muddled by midnight's mask, the bollards seem to find a female form.
Occasionally raindrops from low hanging drains all fall at once and imitate a heel;
its difficult when you're on this kind of warpath of desire to distinguish just exactly what is real.
A taxi driver inches past; his amber light irrelevant.
They both stalk the streets in the hope to hunt for punters but now she will hurl abuse,
as he passes with his heating and his radio and his cushion and his safety.
She waits there in the shadows; advertised but absent,
invisible but available, and patience long expired:
she might be pretty, if she weren't so fucking tired.
Rolled up cigarettes built from butt ends in the ashtrays outside Brooklyn Bar & Grill.
Some may say dystopian or post-apocalyptic,
but this is merely business as she reapplies her lipstick.
I am almost sure she'd dance on snow and would not leave a trace,
and even in stilettos she acquires a certain grace,
as she huddles in an arch by Cornish Place.
On the corner past the bridge, where Neepsend meets with Mowbray,
is the girl denounced as "dirty little sister".
Her voice hoarse from screaming at reflections she's terrified to see in the windows and the puddles.
To finish Oscar's quote:
"it is in the brain, and the brain only,
that the great sins of the world take place also."
To look at Kelham Island you're forgiven for mistaking that the setting here is nothing but industrial.
Generic archetypal manufacture-laden streets.
But the air of possibility, that waters seeds of sleaze, is what drives his brain to walk them once again.
And at first I thought I'd seen this as a sordid revelation:
he emerged from Dun Fields, she came down from Alma.
Their flashing tryst became a brief reality.
The standard proposition, as I'm sure you are aware, is "do you have a cigarette, my dear?"
Of course his fingers tremble, with his 20 deck of Marlboro, that he offers her from halfway in the road.
Shuffling on tip toes, to the pedestal he placed her on, she feels nothing but an upgrade from his wrist.
She asks him for his business,
but politely he declines,
before walking home, and howling, at the moon.