How to leave Soho

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How to leave Soho

Un-tongue the archaic idioms of Wardour Street prose,

those acronyms and codes. Sign out for the last time.

Delete all opinionated indiscretions.


Surrender your keys and password.

Purge details of pharmacists from your phone

as if they were the names of dealers.


Time will end at six as the Swiss clock chimes;

cow chases maiden chases waistcoated farmer.

Big W will always glow, next to Waxy’s Little Sister,


Giant blue M&M will face paper lion dragon

in rictus grin forever, but you must go,

become past tense like Commonhedge Lane, 


the  Flamingo club, the Perruquier, 

and the Shirtmakers-to-the-Fab Four, former

occupiers of Sunrise Food and Wine.


In the mornings when handcarts rumble over

rinsed streets, delivering live lobsters

and vacuum packed carcasses, don’t be there.


Don’t be there at the lunchtimes of never ending banquets,

when tourists pose at the laquered gates, unaware

of red-light eco-bulbs in garrett windows.  


Walk past the choric beckonings of good luck cats, 

as evening bleeds to neon chaos of nights

that stilt walk broken glass. Be gone.


Leave aroma and din, scissors, stamps,ladles, 

hot desks, magnetic pens and tooting traffic cones,

displayed menageries of ersatz cream. 


This street is all the work of tongues and hands,

Hurry on, become sand-grained, infinitesimal, gone.

Published in current issue of South Bank Poetry Magazine

◄ Snowman

Three poems ►


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 20th Aug 2014 12:29

Pauline, you're working your finest in these lines - countless original expressions evocative of time and place, with cutting precision. And, I think, posturing 'what exactly is the definition of "society" and "work"?' I find that your poems always have an agenda, outright, or thinly disguised.

I'm sure glad that I'm backtracking a bit. Check out 'lacquered'; I'm pretty sure it has a 'c' - but could be wrong. Or maybe either is acceptable.

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 3rd Aug 2014 12:48

Atmospheric and imaginative in equal ration.
This Londoner "of many streets" enjoyed the

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pauline sewards

Sun 3rd Aug 2014 00:54

Thanks very much, Greg. Glad you enjoyed it.

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Greg Freeman

Sat 2nd Aug 2014 18:29

Lovely London detail in this, Pauline. This poem's a treat to read.

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