August rain drops tumble onto London pavements.
Listen hard and you can hear a million umbrellas unfurl out of tube station exits,
under anthracite skies office workers trudge to joyless towers lit by flickering computer screens
I sit outside a cafe at Notting Hill Gate, genteel Notting Hill sheltering from the rain
An old lady rough sleeper shuffles by my table, reeking of stale old lady piss.
She pauses for a moment that turns to eternity as she rests her hand on my table.
The smell of her soaks into me, I try to stop myself retching, wishing only she would go away,
I stare at her gnarly hand, long twisted fingers, nails caked in grime.
She asks me if I have a cigarette, and I lie, holding mine up I say sorry last one.
Her gaze fixes on me, tired eyes filled with forgetfulness and I know she’s seen through me.
I finish my coffee and leave her leaning on the table for support.
Skulking away to cold am I to make her passage more gentle with a cigarette or a few coins
On I walk, certain that if anyone looks at me they will see
my humanity dripping like the august rain
that collects on London pavements