Crow Aptok - a poem

Crow Aptok

Beatrice Garland

And look: crouched low and fast asleep,
house-backs, back yards, rear
extensions, washing lines, bedroom
windows with the curtains drawn,
black brick, parallel tracks - and
as the rocking train speeds by
each day new hieroglyphs,
the traces of gatherings, larks
while others were sleeping.
Itís the artists again. They
do not own luggage or books.
They wear beanies of fleece
pulled down over their ears
and the gear slung low on their belts.
When the moonlit arc of the tracks
cuts a swathe through the city,
they are bats on the parapets,
gibbons on girders, cruisers
of cool steel, finding new cuttings,
bridges, embankments, the dark
noses of tunnels. And here
where the buddleias spark with
Cabbage White, Peacock,
Fritillary, they speak in tongues
and their legions are many:
Rainman, Toxo, Slam, Fonz.
The great Crow Aptok, the man
who could hood his eyes like a hawk.
(Once in the North was issued
his terrible final judgement:
Landarse drools.) Reputations
hang upon the bulge of their as,
the rake of their proper nouns.
They are the night shift,
the artists of darkness.
Remember me.
I was here. I was here.

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