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Saturday, 20 April 2019 21:01

Saint Martin in Euston

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in Poetry
Saint Martin in Euston

Saint Martin in Euston

by Fran Lock

miserere. monday is a man reduced to his bare

incident, a stain the pavement eats. a sharded

light is stalled between the concrete benches,

busses, cranes. drills compete, declare a complex

discord. everywhere the air is rutted, hurts.

and yet the earth turns still. the concourse fills

with factions, mobs, gym memberships, majorities,

miniskirts, miskiltered mouths. here are the men

who bury their piqued slang in mobile phones,

little kids who kick at pigeons; prêt a manger

sandwiches, the salaries and symptoms. miserere.

this circus of averted eyes and shifted weight.

we wait in line for black americano. cargo

of feeble guilts. appropriate frown, a face made

plasticine with pity. melt. and it is terrible. drink

up, get out, and go, cocking deaf in headphones,

march like regiments or inmates. off to work.


but then –

monday is a man, and when he speaks

the old home hails me; love becomes a wet

umbrella, sprung indoors. i felt – i saw –

i thought about saint martin, cutting his cloak

in two. miserere. it’s all too much, sometimes.

the grim unfolded fact of it. the shit. how lips

are franked by sanction, shrinking into slur

and stoop and scuff. undifferent dirt. these

grounded birds. these ragged nails and filthy

cuffs. i saw – i heard – and in my head saint

martin stands, as naked as a maypole. his halo

weak and radiant-hard. the struggling

fluorescence of a lightbulb in a bedsit.

backstreet, bus stop, tarmac yard, this his

kingdom. tears his shirt, his hair,

his skin to whispers. still, there’s not

enough of him. can’t cover such a vast

and shuffling need. miserere. love is this

machine for stretching. here we are in

incomes and indifference, rolling our eyes

like pellets of bread in order not to see.

but see!

saint martin through a megaphone, ranting

and antagonised. what’s wrong with you?

what’s wrong with you? and then you cut

your cloak in two.


Saint Martin of Torres is the patron saint of homeless people.

Read 1863 times Last modified on Saturday, 20 April 2019 21:08
Fran Lock

Fran Lock Ph.D. is a writer, activist, and the author of seven poetry collections and numerous chapbooks. She is an Associate Editor of Culture Matters.