A City

Third in the "rewriting the greats" poetry competition. This is a modern adaptation of William Blake's poem "London." It's one of my favourite poems, but it turns out if you take out the rhyme and the old fashioned language it reaches a whole new level of bleak. Ah well. It took me a while, so I might as well enter it anyway. I'm proud of it... in a morbid way.


1. A City

I wander aimlessly
through streets
I know too well
on the banks 
of a river
which walks
when it should run
too murky to reflect
my face
but others are 
my looking glass I see
my glassy eyes
my glass-translucent skin
stretched over my glass-fragile bones
in passersby weighed down
by unseen sorrows.

We locked ourselves
in cages
made of stainless-steel limitations
we forged in bright white fires
and sometimes we scream
"let me out"
in nervous laughter
while children
who have not yet learned to hide
cry out unashamed

We worshipped neon lights
and billboard gods
towering spires fell
and the walls were backend with soot
the street-cleaners cannot destroy
and far away
under an unknown scalding sky
we let men die for us
and drown in crimson rivers
which stain our cities red while we
paint the town red
in long wild evenings
and drown out their appeals
with a bass line.

Sometimes I walk at night
and hear the bright young things lament
outside all-night bars
I hear infants scream at the sight 
of a new world
far away
wedding bells ring
and I wonder how long until
the cheeks
of the blushing bride
are flushed red 
with anger
and love
the last best thing
is lost
in the winter night.

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