The Steel City

By Holly Stark
after W.S Graham’s “The Night City”

Unseen in Sheffield in a dream,
Park Hill’s proposal winked on the beam.
Underneath graffiti artists caught my eye,
as Heavyweight Champion of the World
boomed nearby.

I ran down Devonshire Street,
but stumbled across Charles Peace;
steel revolver heavy in hand,
chills pricked my neck,
“Speak or I’ll fire, you are damned!”

Grunting, he glanced down at his feet to see
spilling towards him; the River Sheaf.
So I sprinted like Ennis before gold,
but realised I’d fallen
down the Hole in the Road.

At ten, I saw Jarvis Cocker on the tramlines,
he fed me Hendersons from Peace Gardens at nine,
but he suddenly stopped as he saw the blitz.
That sweet taste disappeared.
I decided to flit.

I leapt into a taxi as the rain poured,
“Red Lights Indicate Doors Are Secured”
Hillsborough’s angels floated through the sky;
waved out the window
and chimed their goodbyes.

I polished my Dancing Shoes, embracing the Leadmill,
built among the city’s seven sweeping hills,
and there I saw Carter writing a novel;
but it slid Off The Shelf
into the Queen of Scots’ cell.

Helen Sharman phones 0114 from space,
and asks me:

“Do You Remember The First Time –
you fell in love with a place?”