The fifth of November, I remember dark nights

Of frost, bitter cold, biting winds, clad in

Winter’s warm woolens with fur-booted feet.

Into pitch blackness, a wide gulp of my heaven,

The aroma so sweetly inhaled as we stride

With the moon as our constant companion.


Rockets and wheels spinning and whizzing, while

Heaped pyramid fires rise higher, great pyres

Of wood and Guys we all made, with faces

And arms and legs, so real, sat atop the tip

Stuffed with straw and old papers, last week’s news

Up in flames, and we stare as we bite


Into our blood-red toffee apples clutched tightly

In mitten-less hands, and with quivering fingers

We sip on steamy, hot, oxtail soup. Excellent!

Smoke-filled Bonfire Night with its snapping

And crackling and “Oohs” and “Aahs” that expel mists,

Floating mists, of icy cold air into night’s lighted sky.


Night’s Truth

Staring into pure night’s nothingness

I am the only attendant in this static world

Even as a weighty arm bears down clumsily

Claiming its place across my stiffened torso


In the stillness the restless wind rattles and stirs

Accompanying the hollow, soundless space

With its sporadic howls and whistles

Unnerving the shaken, flimsy window screens


And drumming rhythms on fragile panes

Into a tempo of mesmerizing melody

Immersing me in a yawning, restful slumber

While enticing the hidden, hushed, neglected


Thoughts once entombed in the brazen light

Let loose to conviction under hypnotizing darkness

And clandestine revelations are finally at liberty

To throw off the white veil of day’s deceiving hours


Sincerity surfaces exposed to torment and candor

Fabrications find no welcome in night’s shadowy murk

The wail of the wind laments sadness and sorrows

Laid bare in the dark shroud is my solemn truth.


Top Deck, Friday Nights

Seizing the cold, metal pole flanked by folding doors

That snap back fast and beckon us as he brakes

We leap up the single steep step in our high-heeled stilettos

Out of breath, giggly, and silly and showy

Dropping our loud, clanking silver in the waiting slot

And snatching tickets as they churn out the noisy, red box.


The good-looking driver throws a wink and a grin

Unlike the few straitlaced, po-faced passengers below

Teetotalers, night-shifters, glaring in unanimous annoyance

So we make a swift, mad dash up the winding, narrow staircase

Holding fast as the double-decker picks up speed

And finally falling hard on the seat in an ungainly heap.


Laughing and panting, resembling a tossed pile of laundry

Bearing floundering legs, we sit barely upright

Becoming part of the upstairs crowd, rowdy and wild

As they chant and they cheer and they hoot and they holler

And in silence at the back some exhale sailing smoky circles

Which we deeply and delightfully and dizzily inhale.


Like clockwork, the same swarm piles on Friday’s last bus

Done with dancing and drinking until dark’s early hours

So young and adrift in this English inner-city

Where up top we belong at the unruly after-party

Among drunkards and cursing and fighting and spewing

Rebellious and clueless, we make our way home.


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