Portrait of the Artist
on a Friday night at Shepherd's Market

Swirls of people everywhere,
From every stone-clad crevice;
Like ants whose nest
Has been prodded with a stick
They pour from the folds of the grey streets,
Like autumn leaves
Scuffed up by the wind
Or the rings on a shell of Fibonacci's.

Darren pick-pocketed Sangpur's mobile
When he went to the bar
And is showing the others its screensaver
Of Sangpur's wife in her knickers.
Alex, still wearing yesterday's clothes, is telling Ryan
In full, graphic –if somewhat
Embellished – detail
His exploits with Jenny from accounts.
Jenny used to love Ryan;
Ryan still loves Jenny.
Apparently, she washed Alex's socks and pants
This morning.

Michael is yelling at the intern
"Ofcourse I know the level of the fucking Dow –
I'm that bloke that sits in the office opposite you.
You know: your boss."
Kate from operations who's
Leaving today
Was saying,
"I would
Have gone sooner
But my Dave
Had a terrible
Accident last August."

Finally the two Croatian girls
Left, one in some nineteen eighties-
Style taffeta, accompanied,
According to Jamie
To my left, by a gay,
Former temp and a headcase
Mancunian on E.
They walked past the brothel
Through a coloured pool
Of yellow streetlight
Under a pubsign showing
A Dionysian bunch of grapes
Towards the nightclubs.
I took my leave

In the opposite direction,
Lit a cigarette and drew
In its orange glow.
Black night like Death
Enfolded me in its wings;
In its claws I dissolved
Into nothingness.