London Boy

London Boy

In the small hours of a neon-lit night,
The hotel seems never more distant.
It’s even possible
That I’ve misplaced
Covent Garden again.

It doesn’t matter, though.
We stumble
And giggle
And you don’t care that you’re so far
From home.

It’s a long damn way
Back past Stockwell
In that direction
Somewhere,
I think.

But, for now,
These few short days
Stolen
With you,
Stretch long into time
And lie in polished crystals
Of amber.

It doesn’t really matter
Where we’re going.

We walk white stone miles
Find blood drops on the pavement
And, being young and immortal,
Discuss their gravitational direction
Before considering
We ought to get
The fuck out of here fast.

Behind Jo-Jo’s
You let overheated trannies
On fag breaks chat you up
And one beautiful girl
Laughs
When she learns I’m not a man.

You think, when you sober a bit,
That might have offended me
But I point out how dark it was
And smile.
I like how we are both
So blissfully untrammelled by gender.

Vauxhall at three a.m.
Should not be romantic,
But is rather.
We watch unsavoury things
Bob on the black river
And you voice a craving for kadhi
We could not possibly get
Anywhere at this time in the morning.

We are drunk, I declare,
As if that explains it all.
You say that worse things happen at sea
And for some reason
I laugh until tears streak my face.

You light up,
And that dirty, gritty bridge
Has its least pleasant aromas
Masked by the comforting burn
Of ash.

We make it back
Eventually
To yours,
And it’s funny how
The sound of sirens
Seems loudest before
The dawn properly comes.

We sleep well past
When we should.
Your brother’s knocking on the door,
You won’t dare shave
For fear of cutting off your nose,
Peering out at me from within the fringes
Of your dark, shrivelled eyes.

I scramble eggs
On your chipped hob,
He makes tea when you let him in,
And we have this odd
Domestic breakfast,
Listening to the overground trains
Roar-rattle by,
Before I go,
Collect my luggage
And leave you, yet again.


© Anna Reith. All rights reserved.

Available in the print volume House of Choices: collected poems.