Singular Voices in The Strand – Paul Scully

Envy prowls the highway-perimeter
Modest bungalows interspersed
in turn-of-the-century streets
California among the porticos and finials

Black, always coke-black
somewhere in his outfit braiding the mottled manilla
and bottle green of the unseen periphery

Some gardens exude homegrown diligence
in others statued satyrs leer in the moss-mire
lines hung with borrowed philosophy The corner turns
the garage-fixture into the Scottish shop It invokes memories
of the violin maker who hopped the railway line then evanesced
inside a café makes me wonder while over there what lucre Mario
chanced upon when he outed the furrier
from atop his spreading pizzeria

The ticketless station hisses free will
he never crosses over
The dialogue in his brow doses him
with half-hourly cigarettes
Causation and consequence circle warily

In daylight hours on windless days
four cafes saunter onto the footpath
with almost chic tables and chairs

He trades on their nomadic indulgence
In a moment guttered with possibility
his eyes bark gunshot clarity
silence its after-spark

On summer evenings the restaurants also unfold
Friendship intones above the traffic
we circumnavigate life with a forthright ballast of opinion
the gutturals of humour a well-meaning enquiry
His contributing absence is a morning-after insight
I wonder when he reached the house
halfway to the sanity and gable
we treasure above his need