One Poem by James Bell

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.


all illusion is stripped back
though the street lamps placed high
above this alley sparkle
so bright in their attempts to be stars –
cannot – Van Gogh with a candle
on his hat for light would abhor
such artifice in his starry night
as his mind side-steps the demons
that harry his thoughts – high up
there is washing hung out for night drying
in the now cooling humidity
to replace a Prussian blue night sky –
and I too can be the solitary walker
head hung down with invisible concerns
who becomes the dull dun walls and
paving stones – their geometry sometimes
a blessing to hide in though mostly a curse
where most doors are closed – only two
retain any semblance of welcome
any sense of choice being available –
he has already walked by the faux tree
in a pot that props up a menu board
and has come alongside an alley on the left –
grey walls as background to graffiti below
a rusting roller shutter part pulled down
in its half-dark – some lettering above says
erotica in its usual lack of promise –
both the solitary walker and me as him
choose to keep our heads down and walk on


James Bell is Scottish and now lives in France. He has written and published poetry for twenty years. At present he is at work on his first short story collection.

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