Thinking On

Every day I walk these streets I try to take them in. Every detail, the pall of smog from the incinerator smokestack separating the oily black of the night sky from the neon glow of the streetlights lining the A50 below. The football stadium stands like a citadel in the middle of the middle distance and the drone of the traffic rises up to meet me.

Chamberlain Avenue draws up from London road in a exponential steepness dragging its way upwards from the kebab shops and oatcake shops, broken windows and broken paving slabs. The discarded sweet wrappers, beer cans and broken glass are suddenly gone and fallen leaves take their place in piles of brown and gold. Council workers blow and sweep the leaves into the back of their pickup but they don’t pick up the rubbish in London Road. Chamberlain Avenue leads to Penkhull, London Road is Stoke. Stoke Town. One of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent.

I take in these details, because one day when I have left here and find my peace, these things, these memories and sights and sounds will become words and stories and songs. But for now they weigh heavily and it is the best I can do to take them in at all.

Leaves

That every leaf that falls carries a story

Collect the leaves

When autumn comes

Collect the leaves

When autumn comes

Let them fall from my hands like leaves falling from trees

Let them grow,

Piles of leaves.

Leaves of a book

The leaves that talk in the night,

In the forest,

In the woods.

These leaves have seen it all

These leaves can talk

What story do these leaves tell?

Tell me their story

Way up high

On top

The tree top

Reaching for the sun

I climb

I reach out for you

I watch you play

I watch you grow

Leaves, leaves, leaves

What colour are you?

Can I hold you?

Save you?

Reach out to you

Reaching out to me?

Leaves, leaves, leaves, leaves

What purpose a leaf?

I leaf through my leaves

Looking for the perfect example of oak or maple or ash

Leaves

I’m still talking about the leaves

Not being the leaves.

I’ll just leave this here.