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Like lip sores tarmac blisters in the rain


IMAGE: Interpretation of the text

Like lip sores tarmac blisters in the rain

and the bus stop roof sags with kindness.

Oil-dregs draw kaleidoscopes by the drain

while the high street creaks sluggish and mindless.


Bad dreams come to Chatham. A peat-soaked phantom

works its way from the fetid river banks

howling its low and loathsome anthem

that grabs the chest and muddies the blood.


Half-cracked walls are breached; in the fireflies

of a hundred dotted evening kitchens

burnt breath strikes the back of bared necks.

Our souls areprone to occult incisions


that flank us open like dried butterflies

and hollow the hopes that we patronise.

We have so much. This is it.

This is it:

and gratitude begins to paralyze


the tendons of our languid tongues.

Something is heavy on the arms, tight

around the neck, and the claret roses


bleach-stung by sharp daylight

fall without hope by the barrack walls.


Specks of rain hit our calves; kiss them.

The dark belly of the clouds holds

a song of an oboe;

charm of a wolf.


It never leaves, like a back-alley puddle

and centuries are hauled on pinched shoulders,

purples eyes, yellow nails, greying stubble.

Streets are smothered in plum-sour smoke

that stain the edges of the clover;

when the clouds part the fire still smoulders.


Written by DAVID DYKES


Artwork by SAMANTHA GOODLET

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