The Ballad of St John's Square
Sky white as good Afghan heroin.
A prelude to snow upon the wind.
The chestnut tree hisses blind panic –
her fruits never bargained for this.
Sunday church bells ring Jazz out for Jesus.
It’s Mary’s last night alone in the choir.
She’s fallen in love with the verger, you see –
even though she knows he’s a liar.
Mr Johnson stands affronted in his doorway,
at the wonderment of news taking flight.
His dog Raffles howls for his mission –
but the cats have crept home for the night.
The first flake falls upon the black car,
where nervous Nikki fidgets inside.
Carnations splayed out on her back seat –
begging for Sandra to let go of her pride.
Now the conkers are falling as if maces.
Boys field whoppers with stealth in the slips.
The branches bow down to the blizzard –
streetlights shadow along to her whips.
And here’s lost Arif traipsing the graveyard.
A Chicken Korma and rice to deliver.
Louise Marston Rest in Peace –
He was there that day at the river.
The Verger and Mary are all tangled.
The empty pews are reverentially hushed.
Smoking from a pack of Marlboro Lights –
naked and sweet Sherry blushed.
Arif knocks hard on old Johnston’s red door.
Teary eyed and neon ice blue.
“ Come inside, we’ll warm you up –
although Raffles prefers Vindaloo.”
Bells fall silent at last for a denouement.
Nikki and Sandra have a plane to catch.
They’ve just set bleeding hallway ablaze –
history books to a red stroking match.
And thirty-seven rattles in the corner.
Thirty-eight holds a glass to the wall.
Thirty-nine steps out for a new England.
And at number forty; I’m recording it all.