Richard O’Brien




Pont Désert

This is municipal conscious uncoupling.
A man will arrive in a hi-vis coat
and load up a trolley with old love-tokens,
sawn from their moorings, a fence full of trash.
A crane will gloat over the heartless river.
Oh, Seine-strollers, how could you entrust
the bonds of your youth to this transient metal?
Is nothing safe from the trundling cart,
from the skip which yawns its attachment to no one,
the civic machine, as it chews and discards?

This is the infrastructure buckling
under the weight of projected hope:
forty-five tonnes of fixed dreams have broken
a railing. It’s failing. It threatens to crash.
The locks made in China to last forever
have keys which are lost; drowned in blankets of rust.
Could we try again now? With no pressure to put all
in one place, to cling, though we might come apart?
The Mairie declares the bridge safe to re-open.
The crowds drift over the Pont des Arts.

Richard O’Brien’s most recent pamphlet is A Bloody Mess. He was a winner of the inaugural London Book Fair Poetry Prize (Sonnet category) and is writing a practice-led PhD on the development of verse drama. His verse play, Free for All, premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in August this year.  Twitter: @notrockyhorror

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