This poem is taken from Stand 219, 16(3) August - September 2018.

Fred Johnston Two Poems
Lost Pages from a Guide Book

Over the unsure-of-itself iron balcony
Paris tart-sharp in copper-plate neon,
breakfast is croissants, orange juice, coffee -

The rue-de-Something shivered like a cat
Girls had paced the kerb half the night,
There was a cafĂ© where les travestis held court

You could write a book about it,
The purring sound rising off the pavement,
Piss and petrol, a street-sweeper riding

On circular brushes. Somewhere a radioful
Of Maghreb music, manic and loud -
The crack of a window slying over your head

A first day opens like a flower or a tomb
A light anxiety flushed belly-deep -
No postcard this, but an X-ray, a scan to the bone.
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