Poem of the week: Square Wheels

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.


Go here to support our CROWDFUND APPEAL, or if you’d prefer you can pay us direct here:

Bank Transfer

You can make a one-off donation, or set up a monthly payment direct to our bank account. This shouldn’t cost you or us anything.

Lloyds TSB
Sort Code: 876892
Account Number: 75945360
IBAN: GB68TSBS87689275945360


Or, if you’d prefer you can donate by PayPal via the button below. You don’t need a PayPal account to do this – there is an option for debit/credit cards too.


We have a favour to ask.  Tens of thousands of people rely on Bella for independent journalism with a critical edge.  We have no big-backers, remain ad-free and don’t hide behind a paywall. We set our own agenda and provide  analysis that’s free from commercial and political influence. Support us here to defend indy media for the future. Thanks.


Go here to donate: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/backing-bella-2021


Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.