The lane, illuminated by the only flicking light
That holds at bay the dim in such a way no others might,
By day does watch commuters, in a blur, pass blindly through-
But only those worth noting are the ones that pass by night.
The walls, a mess of colour, always changing, always true,
Though no one sees the messages left hidden in plain view,
Then once again the sunlight fades and litter floods the shore-
And drags behind the world’s unseen who paint the murals new.
A local man – not one to let his shoe soles touch the floor,
Did on this day, when bus delay caused him to hairline claw,
Set one foot, then the other, on a path towards his train,
That left for work without him as he chased and kicked and swore.
The man did barely notice as the clouds began their reign,
And let their black and grimy drops fall fast from heaven’s plane.
His sorrow sodden eyes had drifted to the coloured wall,
And in that cloudy instant fled compulsions to complain.
Upon a time, so long ago, he’d walked through hall and hall
Displaying Michael Angelo, Da Vinci, Dante, all…
But never had he been so moved in all those pieces old,
As with these painted messages that answered silent call.
The sky did clear and cloud anew – The wind did carry cold,
But of the man with gazing eyes, his cares were promptly sold,
For he had found, amidst the lines, and shades, and painted brick
A map – though quite encoded – pointing straight to freedom’s hold.
Horizon red and bleeding left the moon to conquer quick.
The man, as indicated, did reverse the piper’s trick,
And when the rats came flowing by, he plunged into the stream
That led him to the dwelling of this furry oil slick.
Beneath the ground, the man had found a place beyond a dream,
A shelter in the sewers, housing more than it would seem.
The many would emerge and some held grins from cheek to cheek,
Surprising him with their neat looks, their teeth and eyes agleam.
A cleaner hobbled forth, led by a labourer quite bleak,
And many other people he’d rely on through the week,
The workers of a factory, the clerks from shops nearby,
In huts and self-built shacks, they lived, and shared where rats did squeak.
The man drew deep a breath, and asked them “When, and how, and why
Do you, the vast majority, stay hid from naked eye?”
The dark explained, “The surface is unwelcoming and cruel,
Designed by men of power to exploit both you and I.”
And more would then materialize, from dark and misty pool,
Their polished logos shining near a bucket burning fuel,
“You’ve earned our invitation,” Once again the darkness spoke,
“Or do you wish return to those who made of you their fool?”
The man addressed the shadow, and his nerves caused him to croak,
“Quite soon they will possess my home, up there I’m all but broke,
I blew my final chance with work, my boss will make a fuss,
So now I’m unemployed, this place could be a lucky stroke.”
The darkness held a smile, “Why not join the rest of us?
Employment? Not an issue, we have jobs that we’ll discuss.”
And only once the man had pledged allegiance to the cause
Did shadow take a step to form the driver of the bus.
Jonathon Best 2017©