Lamplight pools on rain spattered pavements,
Holding back winter darkness
As candles burn low, the city’s eyes closing
With every sleeping couple.
Bathed in rippling waves of jazz
Flowing from basement bunkers
To pluck at the hearts of lonely lovers
Shoulders hunched against November’s icy voice,
Eyes turned down to the floor, face hidden
In a thick woollen scarf.
Breath spirals through fibres in a fine mist
Wandering in to the chill of the night.
He turns the corner,
Emerging from the black velvet of the shadows
To bathe in the lamp’s amber glow.
Tired eyes rise from the pavement,
Fixed on the approaching figure’s face
Bright with anticipation and desire
But disappointment turns them dim,
The light seeping into the chimes of midnight
Vying for supremacy with bursts of brass
Winding from the belly of the city.
He is not coming.
A sigh escapes soft lips,
In recognition of sadness, but not surprise.
Down dingy alleys she meanders
Drawn to the drums, lights, crescendos
Of the clubs, losing herself in blaring sound,
In booze, stale cigarettes and jazz.
He’s sitting, staring, slimy gazes
Slide under the windows pane
I don’t know his intentions
Though I know his eyes are fixed on me
He oozes over discarded junk piles
Keeping carefully out the way
Watches my endeavours burn and crumble
Points and cruelly laughs.
I can hear his teeth click, chattered out chuckles
Maddening rasping wheezing breath
He retches phlegm from his poisonous mouth
It dripping sizzles on the ground
He’s waiting for me to stumble,
Tumble, grind my face on paving
So finally trapped beneath his whispers
His words are vomited over me
“You’ve always been this worthless
And you won’t be changing soon
I’ve watched you all your life
And seen you hurt with words and actions
Watched you sneer
And spit out lies
You’re the worst I’ve ever known”
There are days when I can’t see him
When his voice is barely heard
On these days the sun shines brighter
My fears all seem absurd
. But then his whispers turn up loud
. And more plainly I can see
. That terrifying as the figure is
. He looks a lot like me.