Colchester Dreams 

Colchester Dreams

As I wandered higgledy-piggledy the old streets of Colchester, I met a strange person who stared, stared, and stared. He had a round face, and it glowed like the moon, black spectacles, roll-neck sweater and jeans. Dawn was breaking to the west, and I strode on my way, not wanting to talk, nor look, nor hear, but he lurched across my path and weakly smiled but did not speak. He stared, stared and stared, and I saw his eyes were red with late-night reading. He did not speak, nor did I, but I knew I had met a fiend, a youth of wolfish learning, so I did not speak and higgledy-piggledy I strode on my way through Colchester.

Somebody always turns up to light the light that sits on the table beside my late-night reading, my late-night reading. Is he the fat man in a suit I saw in Colchester’s lonely late-night streets or the replica of the lamp-lighter? Somebody or something, then, always turns up to fill the darkness with sparkling beggared coins. As I walked along Head Street with twilight bloodstained by near dark, I saluted the passing ladies. I should have brought my beard. Suddenly, I spotted a splendid standard lamp beside a stuffed dog in a side-by shop. I determined to purchase it (the dog not the lamp) and use it for a light. But, who to light it when I have it? I cannot as I do not exist. Something will turn up no doubt, to stand behind my black spectacles and inside my roll-neck jeans. But now I must finish my late-night reading, late-night reading, as it is too dark to read by my eyes. I do not talk, I do not look, I do not even hear someone bark a lonely bark in Colchester’s lonely late-night streets nor even in its lonely late-night dreams.

(written 1967 – published ‘Psychopoetica’ 1999)

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