A wet winter sluiced the city streets
that year. My heart lay steaming
as it grilled against the map.
I saw him in the backstreets of Camden
where I spent Fridays before work
shuffling through record shops
or the troves of Compendium.
Inverness Street, Parkway, The Good Mixer:
a kind of accumulative trawling drove
my pathway in those days, as I looked
to tune myself through the crowds
and give my city shape. He wore a leather jacket,
Converse, his lank hair cut into a shape
in synch with those days, a shibboleth
to allow him to step through the hum and beat,
or a pool of some bass player’s vomit.
The city kept me discrete, a stranger sizzling
a cigarette onto a hand. Cricklewood pieces,
Acton yearning, a Streatham Hill of the mind.
Years later in the halls of Holborn station
our eyes met. He’d acquired a suit,
but the kept the haircut. My heart lurched,
as though I’d spent all those years alone
to find a trainer print on a scuffed tiled floor.
Taken from Daniel’s first collection, West South North, North South East, which will be published next year by The High Window.
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