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the vortex man

it’s like this: you know the guy

rides his bike round the centre of cam all day

all like speaker in a plastic bag hanging off the handle bars like

yeah, you know the one, well, anyway,

I heard he’s trying to open a vortex …


thursday, 11am, tore through

michael and lou

flinging words like handfuls of gravel

sniping bitterly in their long coats


with elbows to knees

and a glide so routine, so serene

that michael broke a smile

and followed your plastic music

with insinuating flashes

of the eye

and eyebrow


wonders lou, couché

and michael’s forgiven head nestling

where do you sleep

and where do you live

he cannot imagine a vortex man

buttering toast and undressing

the front door’s bolts of morning

but lou is staccato intellect

and he’s not at all like when


felt home once like a distant memory

stirred by the smell of someone else’s washing powder

on an often worn jumper, slightly damp

then passing, and not quite talc,

felt home in a throat-lurch stronger than the shop entryway

or the two up two down

and held its shimmering promise

in the palm of your mind

and drew circles around it


on a shiny old bike

Artwork by Elizabeth Laurence


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