I have seen twenty different kinds
Of whites and yellow lights reflect
On the opaque water of the river
When night has fallen on this city.
I have stepped around the broken green
And clear glass pieces on the ground,
The flattened blue and gold beer cans
And smouldering ends of cigarettes.
I have heard the roar of engines pass,
The screech of tyres as they brake,
And snares and beats of stereos
That blare from cars stopped at the lights.
The smell of damp from alleyways,
From exhaust fumes and scattered chips
Half-drowned in salt and vinegar
Assault the air on nights like this.
I have felt the breeze pass through the streets
Between the buildings, damp and cool
With bits of dust and dirt and rain
From scaffold cages on new hotels.
I have turned my head and walked away,
Looked down on the river from the bridge,
Seen formless ripple-shivers there
And preferred those to the real city.