You and I at the window with our bandit teeth all exposed. Mine tallow, yours anodizing with the stale gold of nicotine, crap coffee that lives petrified in a jar. I’m your artful baby and I slip into shops first and blast back my chest. Hiya! And you coyote low behind me scoping with your dull sly eyes. Side by side at a counter and you’re velvet and torn at the creases but I’m no better (no worse) and my shirt is soppy and sags, better to stuff the gaps with. We’re proud as we unwrap our sandwiches in front of the clean people behind the counter in their maroon uniforms, blameless and blood dark as cardinals. Why thank you, you pass me bread royally and your beard is tangerine with soap splatter. Have a sip of this fruity soda! And we crack aluminum and toast ourselves, tangling our wrists so we may drink from each other’s cup.
We hip-bump all the little cafes in Piccadilly, vulnerable as soft bovine things all white in the neck. Who would suspect us! As I pass you a chocolate bar right off the counter where the cash is moved around. We steal not because we are poor, or because we are hungry, we need to, as an act of frenzied paddling above this capitalistic floatsum, this accepted inhalation of the little and wild self. How are we to traverse the choke of a system which finger-flicks each vertebra as it commands: work and earn and the toil scrubs itself anew- an ouroboros exfoliation of fat cat/have-not SLAVE TO THE RYTHM (system).
I pop a chocolate-covered peanut into your moving lips and lean into your ear that I’ve got more sugar below my waistband. I re-cross my legs and the hidden jiggles.
Oh! But I thought you—
No, no I’m so sorry, I thought you had—
Our harmonizing laughter, we point at each other and yip. I eye your eye as our throats arch back.
And then we wait to see which weaker one of us today will cough up the money. More often times you, your back half crooked in a Fagan arch turning coins on the counter counting and I against your leg with all the nonchalance of a tiger.
Later, sated on salt and side by side in the cobbled streets, hands in our long coats. We with our swinging heads, sniffing the windows of Berwick Street, Frith Street, past the dancing girls on Great Windmill.
You knick me a novelty pepper shaker from a sex shop, half of the set, a pig on its hind legs reaching—caught mid-coitus now humping empty air. Its hard-pink body in my fist as we prowl on to Seven Dials. I scream at you darling, wait! And move into an astrology shop, coming back to you minutes later (just minutes!) and ask you what part of your kangaroo get-up can hold a star, what folds of you can I squeeze a bit of heaven into? Just a tarot card my love, the sun one. They were loose and I was quick.
London shakes herself and the rain sparks down. A green window, the one we love. The one our eyes pour light into. You hold the door for me and sudden sanctification—my avenging waist, the villain of me clatters as a broken blade. The bookstore, chapel in which we lower our heads. We keep our hands to ourselves here. With reverence, we pet the fatty spines, near exhausted from so many temporary thumbs. Like the rind of something reptilian, red, green, yellow—all unalloyed in their shelves. Lightly we sneak open their pages, careful of their columns. You are hunting but now you are an angel all in metal. I know you are looking for poems to read, aloud, quietly, the words will climax in my hair.
In the middle of the unboastful floor flayed bare by old sunlight I spin slowly. You, older than me by thirteen years, I wait to watch you (as you always do,) pull your own book from some obscure place into a more friendly view. Here, beside the great shuddering monster gullet of Soho, there is no trouble and I wait for you to show me.