London Is The Capital Of Great Britain

By Oliver Tearle

To get inside you have to climb the ladder.
The rungs, a greasy pole; your hands are sore.
A back window will suffice if there’s no other,
a loophole makes a door a portiere.

For now, from wall to wall you take your steps:
a case of no belongings, stashed under the bed
and ready to begin the whole rabid
rat race at a hat’s drop, when the music stops.

The music always stops and never does.
Jostling, the rats through chute and dingy tunnel
make the round journey through their weekdays.
And capital, the great god who stands as sentinel,

watches the city sleeping, houses haunted by
their untenanted emptiness, the ghosts of tomorrow.
You pray to him, ask that he might see you through
to next month, next room, wherever that might be.

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