Niall McDevitt

Birmingham

(for Zel)

1.

Sunday in the silver-grey industrial cauldron
an hour to explore
we clambering about slopes
of Hill Street and Station Street
up the piss-soaked steps
to closed malls
closed marts

then trapped in the hygienic heights of 'The Bull Ring'
with an invisible camera crew
you felt the horns and flanks and tail
of a statue of a bull

as across the ether loomed 'The Pallasades'

smells of junkfood and petroleum
in the unmanned city by the unmanned station
as the semi-circular horizon
modelled its finest silver for the fleeting guests
180 degrees of silver/ a diadem
mirroring us from New Street
through the glass doors of the ghost-bureau
to cashlinks and departure screens

2.

no balance was there in that smoke-screened spaghetti-junctioned
     ski-sloped city!
all was uphill or downhill
or slipping off the edges of superhighways
or falling from ANTI-CLIMB PAINT signs
onto Japanese fountains
into Chinese markets

lost between the Cathedral and the Cabaret Bar
your cane tapping along the cloud-lit masonry
joining in with the rhythms of the street-corner
where a man - the only man in town -
was crushing tin-cans with a sledgehammer
pummelling them into jagged discs
and tossing them into a brimming bin
he bald, broad-shouldered, self-absorbed
minting his own silver coins

(we christened him Mr. Birmingham)

later as you decoded the art installation fountains
purpleblue / orangeyellow / pinkred
and how their waterflow was influenced by the wind
my ears were yours


Amended by the author 31 January 2007

 

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