Joolz Sparkes is co-author of London Undercurrents, with poet Hilaire, published by Holland Park Press, which uncovers London’s unsung heroines north & south of the river. Her poems and short stories are published in magazines and anthologies.
I am doing the walk you do when you’re in Soho –
the walk that says I’m a Londoner see?
Not a tourist. Don’t mess with me.
I do the walk past Soho Square at 9pm
on my way to late night jazz,
it’s been raining and the pavement
is something I don’t want to see
but the filth, oh how the filth, it beckons to me.
– There! –
See how quick it went?
What was it; a mouse?
Nah, the thickness of that slubbery tail, says
eugh [shivers] a baby rat’s in the house.
– There it is –
hunkering next to the railings
gnawing that scrap of a thing
… it’s, it’s looking back at me
little black eyes all lit up like bling.
A dirty evil smudge
the shape of infestation,
nasty filthy claws like the clattering
of lies told down the police station.
Rat, rat. Definitely rat.
It’s doing the walk you do when you’re in Soho.
Poem first published in South Bank Poetry Magazine, Issue 15;
published in Some Kind’a Soho by David Russell and Daniel Saunders published by Central Books 2021
London Undercurrents, Holland Park Press, 2019, ISBN 978-1-9073208-2-8, £10.00
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