Poem of the week: Square Wheels
Over and above the steps of Bristo Square’s concentric circles
two skaters snap out ollies and pop-shuvits,
flickflacking a rail of metre round their auditorium;
board on slab like clave on clave or brush on hi-hat when they’re grinding.
It’s play of a going nowhere kind, the urban stillness
wide and in one frame making racket theatre of dummy runs.
A woman on a bench wears the scene’s two jackets,
one brown, one teal, both frayed and open, at once
an audience of one and jaded member of the lean ensemble.
Then for one trim half beat, maybe in the second movement,
against the cyclorama of a nearly-likely Teviot House,
the slack tune blasts into a clenched-jaw journey metaphor
as a courier torks the square to no visible reaction.
She draws a long shadow like a millisecond hand
round the face of the city’s designer wrist watch,
her line over lapis, close as well-loved song,
grifting the days-dry pavement of its hard-won traction
leaving seared air and no applause behind her.
Patrick Romero McCafferty (he/him) is a Mexican-Scottish poet and performer. His work has appeared in Gutter, Acumen, SPAM, and elsewhere. He edits Wet Grain.
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