On Addressing My Neighbour’s Scaffolding
You are the prince of peripheries, the true exponent of exposure.
Your airy robe of rising ribs, pipe the heavenly winds.
You are the wrapping around an idea, the skin of shredded shadow
Stalking the substance of cities.
You are an ascending calendar of couplers, capturing your concrete confidante
In a rising riddle of uprights and dividing decks.
To your hard-hatted inhabitants, you are their temporary temple,
Their tower of trust.
They believe in the knuckled grip of your brackets,
Have sworn allegiance to the hallowed heights of your handrails.
But soon they will abandon you and your stoic stage, dismantling your dreams
Collapsing your kudos.
For you are the perpetual understudy, always absent on opening night.
But today I suspect we have something in common,
Me at my small outdoor table, you across the road, alone and resolute
In your skeletal stance.
It is certainly not the heady heights you have reached,
Or the strength of your many parts.
Perhaps then it is our love of earth, that seeded and trusted foothold,
On which, day after day, we continue to spread
The weight of our windswept work.
It was inevitable the day would be scripted
For a younger him.
A stage on which he would forget
His lines—those old rules of engagement
Archived long ago.
But he would not forget how he gripped
The rear bar of her scooter—
And how his legs cupped her thighs.
How words blew back past her helmet
And how hungry he was to catch them.
Nor would he forget the sloping grass
Down to the lake—
And his clumsy appraisal of a wine
He couldn’t pronounce
And when preparing to leave
How he pulled the helmet on
Back to front.
A mediocre performance at best
Delivered with the ease and confidence
Of a man on day release.