The road to Damascus
All along Jensen Avenue poverty had spilled
out of the houses, even the dogs and cats
had caught it and a harsh and sulfurous light
had faded the T-shirts of the jobless welders
and the blouses of their pubescent daughters.
The newsagents on the north-west corner
didn’t sell wallets, and the glass case
full of pens and watches was sealed
with a patina of dead dust. That’s not
to say that dignity had been abolished,
nor that the music that inhabits aspirations
was silenced nor the drums of passion dismantled.
Children blew about the street like crisp packets,
doorways were carpeted with condoms, laughter
fell about, half an hour after the bars opened.
It was while he was stealing a girl’s bicycle
from the alley by the chapel that Amos Dupre
caught sight of a fluorescent angel lurking
behind the tombstone of Andrea Bellini, mother
of Patsy Fate and a seven piece rock band.
And it told him to get his thieving hands
off the bike, and pointed out to him
that in Draper’s Close a fish-merchant
had just parked a Ford Capri and neglected
to remove the keys from the ignition.