The urban fox darts from beneath the Telford Homes hoarding,
pauses, then turns towards me in the middle of Old Castle Street,
his yellow eyes glowing in the darkness like the eyes of Iain Sinclair,
like the eyes of Iain Sinclair giving an impromptu lecture
on the history of Hackney Brook. The rushing of blood in my ears
harmonises with the gurgle of a sewer from a nearby manhole cover.
There is a new vista across the site which makes the street appear
to float, just an arbitrary pathway, when I know it is ancient,
a stubborn cleft running east to west, parallel with the Road
to Camulodunum. The pigeons are fat where the cooking oil
spills into Bazalgette’s tunnels, congealing in underground grottoes
into huge waxy stalagmites we might come across in the gloom
as latter-day Toshers, urban explorers who note floating turd logs
on their customised blogs. There will always be weeds
thrusting up between concrete. It’s so easy to muddle up
junk for geology. There is science, there is fact, and then there is life.
You’ll find me, head down, in a mulberry bush.
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