the titles reached up high,
the mountains of fantasy
dominating the upper reaches
in long stretches of hard-to-say
names and strange england-like
lands, then came the crime
in black-and-white city streets
and men with eyes too haggard,
then bright-souled coming of age
novels, asking for optimism and love.
at the bottom sat the poems
tucked into notebooks.
I sketched names in the ashes
of old words and older feelings,
tasting lives; how many had walked
streets like these, in days like these,
dancing in doorways to hide from rain,
or climbing over infinite mountains
in dreary seaside alleyways, when
they’d never dare to see the summit.
All ash, pre-built and pre-burnt,
with endings already written.