Jim Bennett has the secret city blues

secret city blues

when I came here I saw twelve men
carve their way through the carbon night
while outside the moon played on the walls
a landscape fashioned after mountains
a memory of caves that kept men safe
hands held fingers twisted like rope
two butchers fought with knives unstropped
like an argument after Sunday lunch
and in some backdrop lot of unseen movies
wasted men drink from bottles in brown bags

street corner gangs eye trash can sorters
looking through you like you do them
an old women recycling filth carrying bags
pushing a pram full of cans and bottles
secret doorways into other peoples lives
open as she passes and close just as fast
as she leaves her presence in a smell
hanging like a memory in the air
muttering as she does the unheard words
from a conversation in her past

the dogs in hunting packs
haunt the alleyways pick over trash
burrow in the organic mass
of rotting food behind the restaurants
ignore the screech of brakes
and sirens from the road
the shouts and screams and tears
the brutal laughter from the bars
the moaning sound of copulation

the whore with her panties down
and the man who falls to the ground
dead drunk both pissing in the darkness
as steam rises from the gutters and grills
I splash between the pools of light
street lights and flashing traffic lights
cars taxis and buses scraping along
clogging the air with tar gas
painting buildings grey to black
among the smiling signs
and easy male and female

backstreet buggary
that is New York

here I walk with ghosts
Chandler Runyan and Ginsberg
and listen to Lou Reed
Dylan and ten million others
as I mouth the words of the Secret City Blues

• Jim Bennett is a poet, and he believes that he is still alive, living in a place that looks a bit like Merseyside.  www.poetrykit.org


  1. Brilliantly done! Inspiring!
    Years ago I rode for a treat in a black&white with one of New York's finest.
    It's like you say. It reminds me of the district they call The Bowery.
    Seasonal bardic wishes,
    Gwilym Williams

  2. Great poem. I'm particularly impressed with the first verse. Well done. Mandy Pannett

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