a café in England’s North West     doesn’t overwhelm
where’s the tree where the wagtails roost     do they
still     granular     embossed     polished     brushed

throwing hoops at the hook     the galleon on the bartop
am I war zone     up in the clouds     in mist
compulsory water feature in town square     turned off

witchy hills    landscapes of plate meat pie     undulating
for reasons    Robin Hood takes the bus to Sheffield
signature collage     mushy peas gravy     lovely salad

in the gallery     mirror shows the top o’ mi yed
hollow     irregular     bulbous    spiked
shiny views     hoodies in Reeboks with longbows

grey hills      walks to the castle     bedrock redistributes
wealth but the rich get still richer     bookshops closed
Mondays     cat-café and coffee     by the station

I call     how’s your embodied privations     those days
people were living in caves     up till the 20th
century     vertical     balanced     peaks     don’t

get out much these days     do you like curly fries
ten minutes to the cricket ground     bollard in charge
of the street     fossil criniods in the walls of St mary’s

council offices     please wear mas and keep
social distance     registering palpable ambience
of sculpture based on the Venus of Willendorf     bumpy

hallucinating presence     old photos     paintings quotidian
as plastic banquettes     used to come here a lot
before during and after     see you soon     narrative

Steven Waling

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