24. kensignton gardens DSCF5298

Augustus, the Divine, the Fortunate One,

Final surviver of the civil wars,

Last body left upright, he did a lot of building,

Created a marble simulacrum of himself.


The squatter, cross-legged, patient,

Behind her table-cloth of amulets,

Counts change from a velvet bag into

The palm of her hand; the ambergris of potions,


Murex and belladonna, washed from the Tyrian

Planisphere; the occult gear-wheels, the pathways through

To the different levels of Kabbalic illumination,

Represented in the symmetries of Tarot cards, the solar signs


Of the hanged man with a halo upside-down,

The tie-dyed circles in the breeze like purple flags;

There is the scent of lavender sprigs, and the raw smell

From bins in alleyways that back up restaurants


And sticky bars. How we wake, drenched in lilac,

Reeking of petrol, turning over a pillow in the night.


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