Publication Date: February, 2023
Location: PoetsOnline.org, specifically at the Place section of the Archive.
Genesis: On my occasional visits to London, I find I have an uncanny ability to find fascinating, quirky, and generally wonderful places to eat and drink. It is my habit to walk as much as I can down there, rather than use public transport, which opens up many more possibilities for discovery than any journey by Tube, so I guess that helps.
I was walking along the Embankment in early December, 2022. It was a cold, bright, sunny day, and I came across a bar offering mulled wine. I was in! I read my book, chatted to the bar staff, and drank mulled wine. The Gents were downstairs, and down there, I found they had a nightclub, too, which wasn’t due to open for another few hours. It’s the first time I’ve ever had the chance to wander around one, on my own.
I probably wouldn’t have written a poem about the experience had it not been for the January prompt from PoetsOnline.org, and I don’t feel it’s one of my better ones. Here it is, though.
No bar staff. No music. No base-beat vibrations through the polished wooden floors. No dancers. No DJs No jostling for space at the deserted lit bar. Empty plush sofas, Tables all bare. The mood-lighting’s on But there’s nobody here. Yet there are notes in the walls, Silent beats in the floor From the dancing and partying That rolls on until dawn. The mirrors on the wall Reflect only me; Vast empty spaces Where dancers should be. The air feels impatient, Drink wants to be drunk, To the rock and the roll, To the trance and the funk. The silence feels fragile, In this calm before storm, In hours, the doors open And in they will swarm, Amped up and ready, with Music in their veins And I, all alone here, Never knew all their names.