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Scratch the cold surface

Dickens Field, London

Carlington Black, 2017


Clutching cellphone

to shaking young ear

Black hair, wrapped for Christmas

Fashionably morose

In Dickens Fields

Red nails, Black puffer, Dark brows.

Sobbing at digital fragments

Of spoken, news, transmitted.

Boyfriend gone, Mother found, Brother dead

We, We, undead

Impervious, Imperious, Lunching

In Lant Street

Where Dickens boarded

In shadow of the Shard

Daddy in Marshalsea

His mother cried

Up early for washing

Two centuries of shit

Circling, Coriolous, clockwise

A smartphone buzzes

In the middle of it all

She staggers to park bench

Winter wonderland

Fifty metre bitter halo

Solitude surrounded by

Revving courier van,

Wandering student, shiftworker, job hunter

No sobbing wanted heard

But really, our discomfort

Is cold comfort, can’t repress

the sobbing, a few words

Sobbing, Bare words, Sobbing,

What will she do when

she puts the phone down?

Jerusalem, Whanganui (2017)

It’s raining in Jerusalem

The sibilant storm welcomed

to this waiting place

silent, without judgement.

Invited to nestle among

tree clotted sheets

knotted at Mataimoana

Raindrops, countless


Soak shoes off path

haste to reach Saint Josephs.

Where the brass knob sticks


damp entry to

the storm’s clumsy pash.

A door finally gives in

to desiccated narthex,

Aubert’s consonant shrine.

East wall, the silent chancery

scowls away the ersatz


To wander the soaked lawn

where carved rills of khaki water

run toward a weed clumped paddock.

Where Mary stands in

pale shelter

blue linen gown

and thick leaved rhododendron

glade. No sky no horizon.

Fleshed bare

right foot.

Toes like writing fingers.

Nails flat and half mooned.

They never wrote a day in their life.

Washed clean again anyway.

Bishop Cullinane planted


In honour she never wanted

Now stunted. Out of place in these shadows.

Aubergine lichen licks the branches.

Mary stares,

steadfastly low.

Moisture springs

dribbles down

her inside ankle.

Nature’s kenosis.

This is