Remember looking out at the city?
The great sprawl of neighbours
and strangers, city-kids
coasting over parched grass
and into their buildings.
From our place up there
I said to you, winking:
What do you think of this line?
And then I was at it,
delivering a token of my wit
for appraisal with a mock, regional
accent drawl —
You’re like a coin with tails on both sides
when all I want is head
— You rendered me a cheap, grunt
of a laugh and I raked my throat,
preparing to spit off the edge
and assert something or other
about how at night, if you try,
you can hear the steady roar
of the M25 like static on the radio;
the tidal hiss of our island-city
that we’ve long ceased to notice.
Remember how angry you were
when I told you I’d stolen that whole speech?
That I’d read it earlier that day
in a book of yours?
You gave me a look
that said you clearly already
suspected. But I thought I’d appropriated it well,
and just because the point had been made before —
Anyway, I kept standing and looking out:
tough face, shoulders back, spit swallowed,
hoping not you, nor anyone,
would point out to me