Shakespeare in Camden, 2019

Shakespeare in Camden, 2019

Ellora Sutton

down the street to the smell of sizzling plantain
and the tickle of spilt almond milk he walks
and as he walks he sees stanzas in the clouds
and in the clouds he sees the face of the boy he loves

there’s a girl in the lock in the beer-coloured water
and none of the people are doing a thing to save her
and her hair floats like vomit over a drain cover
and Shakespeare knows she didn’t die to make a pretty picture

past the statue of Amy Winehouse to the raw poetry of the hawkers
and he takes a moment to rub inspiration from her holy palm
and all that comes off is pigeon shit
and he laughs because maybe it’s the same thing

Shakespeare can feel the rumble of the underground in his knees
and his knuckles the judder of metallic slugs
and all the people in those tiny airless lungs
and it makes him think of the laughing gas he did last night

with the boy he loves on a rooftop in a jungle of washing line
and how he stopped to make notes on his iPhone
and how the cracks in the screen became part of the poem
and how the moon became as superfluous as punctuation

he checks his Instagram to the applause of 40,000 followers
and he thinks of kale or maybe tinned sardines for dinner
and then something to smoke with the boy he loves later
and then dreams of obscene minotaurs drunk on midsummer

along the Thames in the dark but it’s never dark in London
and the queue for the water bus is a fading stain
and he wonders how many bones are in that black water
and he wonders if it will ever completely freeze over again

he googles flights to Italy maybe Venice or Verona
and knows he’ll never book one he needs a deposit for a house
and there’s a nice row of terraces a few miles out of the city
and the boy he loves has always wanted a cat called Orlando or Ophelia

the tasselled cushions on the sofa are wine-mottled
and he enchants them into the Northern Lights
and the static on the telly is the Bermuda Triangle
and this is all of the world right here

in a Camden flat with a blood orange door that belongs to the boy he loves
the world in his pocket his palm his throat and the boy he loves
watering cacti that Shakespeare had thought long dead but the boy he loves
doesn’t give up like that even with just pennies in the ‘leccy meter
and only old defunct pound coins in the jar
and like that Shakespeare is happy
ardently happy
happy with the boy he loves like a summer day

Ellora Sutton