Jackson’s Opening


Jackson’s Opening

I shall unpack the gutturals
that spell nothing and are not music.
Listen. I’ll hum like the amber lamps
as they spread the night-map.
I’ll walk between the black walls
of the dead nail-shops and do racka-cack,
gunning the wire down the furlong entry.
I’ll weld the forge-din to its hard blue light.
At the lock-gate I’ll lend my throat
to the cog and ratchet for flaked rust;
when the sluice has finished seething,
I’ll be its quiet, the lock-light
on the water as it shifts.

Tired of ventriloquy,
I’ll go back with the wind dragging
the rail-yard’s midnight percussion
across the river, and be the rain
leaning against the door; I’ll be the 2 a.m.
that squats on the landing, and the swarm
of coats gathering under the stairs.
I’ll wake to the voiceless on the street
 and move with them among the fireweed.
     




Note: ‘Jackson’s Opening’ was the name of a black brick alley (‘entry’) that ran between two plants of the Rylands wireworks in Warrington, the works and the alley now long since demolished.