Love in Brighton

I wrote this one for Smeuse Poetry‘s first anthology competition, calling for poems inspired by Brighton. So it’s thanks to them that I am now a paid, published, prize-winning poet! Here is a poem about Brighton, and a true story.

***

You came with me to talk to the sea
And made me imaginary key-lime pie scones.
The grey waves
Gnawed at the spindle-pier-legs
Angry as you were
Hungry as I was
And we skittered stones at seagulls
To keep them from eavesdropping on our no-words.

St Anne’s Wells to Moulsecoomb is a long way to walk
Unless you’re a student
Or in love
Or both.
We paved the way for each other
Hop-scotching half-remembered poetry
Dancing glances and howling laughter
Over the roar of mainline traffic.

And did you know (I never did)
The best Japanese restaurant in Brighton?
And did you know (how could you not)
Where to see the cyclops skull in Hove?
And did you know we walked on ley lines?
And did you know you could travel for the price of a lemon?
And did you know about the Great Wall of Vagina?
And did you know about the graffiti walls?
A paper chase through town
Threading all our secret shining Brighton moments
Into a chain of events
And did you know where we were headed?

Cocooned in the bubble world
Of a fringe within a festival within a city
Where everything is flyers
Where actors bellow their wares
Like fishmongers at market
And puppets crawl the grey May streets.
We heard the buskers at Pavilion Gardens
And did not lay in each other’s arms under the trees.
We stapled curtains to a pub wall
And hung lights
And ran lines
And pretended our lives weren’t falling apart.

Train after missed train
Sat under blinking timetables
Struggling to find words in the echoes
Of the high station roof.
Silence stoppered in an unexpected kiss
That should have been a full stop
And became an ellipsis
Through the barriers and onto the train
To scalpel slice me out of the seaside town
With sea salt fresh on my cheeks.

(C) Amy Sutton 2017

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