Sunday, 22 November 2015

Children Steal the Streets of Manchester

Manchester is painting its own picture
The artists enter evening
From grey-cold afternoons
Of ticketing, leaflets
-          The paper Mache
Piling up under the shoes
 - Advertising night-life
Emphasizing truth.

My mother said stay away
From wet paint, smell of glue
Tib Street, Lever Street, Edge then Shudehill
I just a kid, and the ‘wet surface’ sign
Came to her like a fear.
Here nothing dries
Not even tears, lines

Are being drawn freehand
Outside bars, the stitch
The seam
They keep spinning
The turn of the discs.
Mum’s ‘mind’ like a warning
Paint on the railings
This dream
Opened my eyes
I unknotted my fist
Cold and living,

I remember her wailing
On Oldham Street, Piccadilly, Whitworth Street West
At the paint on my fingers
The smell of success
Under my nails

I was not too young then
To feel art, the point without sale
The puddle-stained depth.
The breath of parent
You should be
My girl,
Ashamed of yourself

But the sunset
Was watercolour.
Look, mother, look
As the orange opened to ochre
My hand stained, flexing

Not into a phone
But to Sackville, Spinningfields,
Oxford rail Road
But she was angry
The shops shut
 The gallery closed.
We’ve missed it she said
 No reason to stay

Not leaving
But I took
The railings