Ian Bowen

Putrid Circus - Poem by Ian Bowen

In dark Capital alleys he clutches his Gladstone,
Full of the knives that cut light out,
Reaches in and draws The shiniest, honed to the hilt.
Look at me in the name of dog,
I will clean these Sodom streets.

The dark soot-stained bricks hardly cast a shadow,
Camouflaged by smog-iced air and dark attire,
But now he steps into the light,
His shadow, top hat and cane carrying long.
Black ground-touching cape drags in gas lit pools.

Now he listens for fair gendered footsteps,
His heart beating in time with approaching heel and toe.
The knife cutting silence, hears the lamp gas hiss,
Like a Knighthood of Vampires.
Empty cobbled street stays mum,
Unable to warn of impending danger.
Houses beg voice to scream, go no further,
But they sit inanimate in their rigid stony shame.

She has plied her bawdy trade,
Helped through by the penny-a-pint mothers ruin,
Looks old like unwashed rags, but young as modern child.
Hardship has been her closest kin, no easy days.
Now life will wield its final blows.

Her last street walk now, gripping her latest shilling.
Snuffed by the internecine pike,
Who swallows life whole.
Extinguished by the Lamplighter,
Who determines light or dark.
Victorian victim of the pleasures of man.
A rag doll in life’s putrid circus.

The rage commenced after the first downwards stroke,
Ending only in his tiredness of limb.
Evil has conquered innocence yet again, again.
Now they have both left dripping into puddles,
Him with a shadow, her with none.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

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