Tea

by earthquakeinthepoorhouse

Leaning too far to the right
and pissing on the sea,
I tumble from the Jewry Wall
into a box of tea.

There’s no one in here
I could place;
no Bacon, Coke, or More.
Only febrile, barelegged boys
kicking at a door.

Climbing out, cold herring feet,
I find no seaward sun.
Just waiting aunts with trays of meat.
I’ve already had my lunch.

I find an old man on the dock
he counts his tools of trade.
Heavy bobs the Himalaya,
bills of lading paid,
brought low upon the sea again
by logs of ten-pound grade.

Above the clink of pestling chains
I catch the hiss of spume.
The North Sea rakes the mud out flat.
Marshland windmills, salty rooms.

The basal chord
in all the noise,
the loudest, whirring cog,
is just the stunted,
simp’ring sound
of kindness to a dog.

Upon the pebbles,
glue-white kids;
tidemark, knee and spade.
A can of Stella has no lid,
the sailor has no blade.

A day of frolics at the beach,
ruined by both day, and beach.

Queued upon the High Street,
a row of plastered pubs.
Inside one, a balding uncle,
paintbrush in his duds.

I scent the sawdust wet with ale
and emptied arteries.
Burnt chrome yellow mustard cuts
air thick with jam and kedgeree.

Outside in the ancient parks
turn slow, soft screws of rain.
The palest patch of lighted cloud
arraigns another day.

From headless oaks and barest elms,
greyblack squirrels peer,
rank with soot and chill with fog,
cast sidelong looks at inbred deer.

Beyond the salt heath, only smoke,
a freightship under steam.
Heat lifts from a porcelain pot,
its liquor smells of me.

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