When I was fourteen I lost my soul
in the great depression of the Seventies
it slipped away in the music-class
like a snow goose in a grey sky
over the frozen playing grounds
and the roofs of the housing-estates

or an orange moon sailing
over the frightened tree-tops
though it was still morning
and the stars were out and the sun sat sullen in the corner of the sky;

or the brains splattered on the school-shelter wall
the fragments of sharp bone embedded in the Tarmac
from the young man who was executed several nights before –

only a few years older than us
he knelt and cried in shocked pain,
and was no more.

My soul has two sides
like a moon
like a dumdum bullet

would not be free
until I let it loose
like the loss of myelin sheaths
like the sparks of an angle-grinder
the white light of an oxyacetylene torch
the stone chips of a headstone

or the laughing feet running in riot
the dust of buildings collapsing into the street
voices too thick to sing, or understand
the metronome in the cupboard.

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