Two poems by Jess Henshall
In the black of an anthracite night
We came to the place of artificial
Lights and artificial dreams,
It was the abandon of our childhood naivety
The end of our lives, the end of it all.
Black words. We spat them at each other
In the gap between the cold bed sheets
And the stale air of each other’s mouths,
All of the unspoken things suddenly heard
As if we had said them all along.
Maybe if we had just slowed down
We would have noticed things other than
Ourselves. Instead we walked empty streets,
Haunted by narcotic nights, searching for
Sharp edges to feed our self induced misery.
We were dying beneath the layers of
Pigments and powders and plastic smiles
But as we watched our city burn
And bury itself in its own ashes,
In our minds, we welcomed the demise.
There is nothing left now except the fading
Images in our heads, the tainted memories
Of electric lights, and the sound of the
Rooks as they land in the ruins of our lives,
But maybe this is all there ever was.
When we destroyed ourselves
And the places we had once known,
The rooks filled the gaps we had left
Like weeds in the cracks in the concrete.
Piece by piece they wove their nests
In the burnt out cavities of our homes,
Watching as the last bricks fell and our
Touch faded from the tarmac streets
The rooks opened their wings to the light
Of the dying sun, their caws echoing
Through the skeletons of our city,
And filled in the sky until all was black.
by Jess Henshall