You walk on chalk tarmac,
step by step becoming ghost feet
wandering on cigarette streets
with cracked-in windows
boarded up both sides,
if that even hides the noise.
Graffitied walls are the sound.
Artists. Teens who get their kicks
spraying nicknames on bricks
in the jitties, in the dark.
Names read a thousand times.
Still, you’ve never met Dan the Man
but he roams Tesco car park like
nights never end, days never come.
And he doesn’t sleep but she does.
He loves ‘Stacey forever’ regardless.
Even broken-down street signs
don’t sleep well when they know
some letters are missing.
They’re kipping in the day.
It’s one eye open, one shut,
to anyone who doesn’t know
these streets like the
scars inside their cheeks.
Beneath their bleeding tongue,
they’re sharpened by the glass.