Bob Dylan turns up at Spoken Word London, VFD, Dalston at 7.57pm on 7th May 1969
Hippy jeans on skinny legs crabbed out of bed at seven pm just for another cup of coffee. The cellar club having a night off walls the colour of sex cock-filled toilet doors. Snaking his waist inside, I imagine there’s a fag on the pavement. Put me on first, he must have said. Ignoring his own ignorance of rules & giving his own fucks he guards a guitar like a shotgun. Duncan in his cowboy hat & boots feels under-dressed in black nail varnish. Hannah warns the photographer to wait, wait. She turns off the clock. He sings Tonight, I’ll be staying here with you and then walks out.
# Circular saws mark my route, roofers next door hammering & tongues like long-lost friends scaffolding them in empty windows & doorways when months before they filled with cheering horns, families lined up on balconies just as I imagine a photo on their kitchen wall # I catch a wind-swept leaf, I think about staying for thirteen minutes to catch a bag or wait ‘til winter to fill sacks on the road buses gush, cars harrumph as delivery scooters sew, the seagulls circle # when I stop by the post, an NHS Priority Box, their gift claps as it drops # down the hill the Grade I church is no longer a life of worship but they stage rehearsals # on the promenade, the Angel of Peace homage to nurses in a way statues should be in a past forgotten # wind turbines swirl through mist and I wait a minute squinting at the West Pier’s skeleton that seems to spell NHS, they keep saying it will be repaired one day # the autumn spring tide washed swathes of pebbles over the railings, I pick one up and know my place # at a defunct water fountain from an age it was free, the place I normally circle the square with its hedges & shrubs, nature’s prism, a hundred greens, one red, one yellow # when it’s dry, instead I walk shoe-less, grass-toed past the chattering sparrows in a restaurant of trees but it is seagulls walking this time looking for lunches, packed, alive or both # unlike Lee Harwood’s dead bench suitably wrought with iron slats and plenty of gaps or space in-between where I find a broken key # in BRØD+WOLF I buy a pair of vegan coconut & lemon slices that save the planet two-by-two but not my waist # and there’s nothing eco-centric about the main street when my health and wellbeing centre is shut, I feel my breath as if I had a mask on but my glasses fog with rain rather than steam up # the dentist is open to national health patients, a relief to my broken front tooth that chews on stuff too much, a buddleia has lost its smell and I wonder how big it will grow and whether the family knows # the roofers who reminisce about videos, how one has a free feature film now the shop has shut and how the clunk, clank of ladders marked the end. I don’t know how to let go
Twenty years cooking a hotpot grow your own onions, potatoes father told me in Brentford they made those nylon bed sheets but not now it’s Brompton Bikes making it easier to get where and what you want, no-one knows you until we remember that moving is no escape unless it involves all the roots getting our nails filled with its soil. I scraped most of it out though an orphan still remains in Bermondsey, but not really it’s Bermondsey Street you see the argument is not what the argument is about my mother told me this over & again in a different way I was drawn to Stepney for four weeks in a bedsit nearby where she was born, the hospital rebuilding itself with an old facade as if longing for her backwards nine months in Hackney where I also curled in a womb as though squatting in Broadway Market rent pouring from my pants like I am the gentry pissing my soul over the homeless people battle every day with their lives, me with my own change put in their hand never in cups, speaking their names out loud just made it worse, for me 'I don’t know how to let go' continued page 1 of 2 'I don’t know how to let go' continued, new stanza, page 2 of 2 in Shoreditch Triangle it’s easy to be lost like having no home to go back to mother’s story it’s easy to escape in Brick Lane nostalgia like knowing there’s no going back father said but in a different way in my arms just before the end. Memories of holding on the need to let things go to Brighton, naturally I tried Kemptown, obviously they both loved wordplay my parents, evidently Hove, actually is how I reach the sea. after Will Harris