I’ve Started to Shout at Cars

as I trudge near The Angel. I find your spectre
where the city sends its daggers, my heart inside
my cranium, tinsel stars on tar macadam, footsteps
where our photos were. Once it was romance—
things were sweet. I thought my arm round your
waist could keep us safe. Once it was romance—
now days are various shades of shit, and you’re so
fucking real, vivid and real. I do my best to frame
sensations as love, as it’s pain and pain. I am my
own cliché. The sky slate grey on waking, slate as
a blockade. Your illness was an abomination. And
this is your city. On days like this, the dentist is my
fairground. I curse passers by, lovers arm in arm.
Streets mock me with scaffolding; buildings are
metastases. Services ring. They worry over the sea
I’d walk into. My mind a crazed typewriter. Faces
are echoes of you, cranes are you, quays too, the
Mancunian Way. I Uber my way round, existential
coat, wearing your hat as camouflage. Carols play
and everything stops, except this heart that thinks
the body wants to live.

Patrick Wright