Falling / Heat / The Weekly Ritual by Jonathan Butcher


The other side of that water, under that shelter
distanced from your voice, as the lightning strikes
a single fork, hitting the ocean’s horizon. That humid
breeze, like an oven blast, slowly tips my patience
and allows your eyes to re-focus.

That tepid temper that never surfaces, only smoulders
like fading embers, stagnates through lack of boredom.
Our palms still manage to cross with static, the charge
felt more in one hand than the other; that first sign of a

And towards the end of that week, still entwined under
that low roof. The curtains only slightly managing to keep
out this heat. You set the expectations low, knowing that
threshold would be far too easy for me to reach until
we fall again once more.


Under the shadow of banners, all types
of hands and faces receive respite from
this heat, which burns through the very fabric
of where we stand. The melded yells become
one voice, like a wave of unpolluted water.

The concrete steps hold our weight, the stakes
of those placards embed themselves without
cracking these foundations. The endless rows
of people form an horizon that blanks out any
billboard or sky scraper, each one accountable.

The crowd shuffles, the usual sects now combined,
any differences obsolete. Someone declares intent
over this breeze, a child slightly smiles from its pram,
others raise hands and fists at that sky which is
unmarred by clouds or thunder.

And as we step forward, our feet light on the hot
concrete, the one outside bars and shops offer
their finger prints, onto the collage of this message.
As we continue that mile, our strength now solidified
we cross the threshold, as that sun refuses to set.

The Weekly Ritual

Those carved, steel doors where we queued,
our feet and jaws twitching like spider legs,
our fresh garments slightly ill fitting, but still
fit for purpose.

Avoiding eye contact at the entrance, those
oversized hands grabbing our fee, like crows
to the foil. We open those doors to the false
smoke and light.

We swagger on matchstick legs, our banter about
as confident as our walk. We only shuffle within
packs, in which we remain incandescent, without
breaking character.

Towards the end, shuffling like robots, our mouths
and minds dry. We exit confident we have left our
mark. Our presence only to be muttered in whispers
by no one but ourselves.

Jonathan Butcher is a poet based in Sheffield, England. He has had work appear in various print and online publications including: Popshot, Sick-Lit, The Transnational, The Morning Star, Mad Swirl, Picaroon Poetry, Amaryllis and others. His second chapbook ‘Broken Slates’ was published by Flutter Press.

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