Poem “Ridley Road” by Matt Gilbert

vehicles parked on curb during daytime

photo by Filipe Roque (c) unsplash images

Ridley Road

Saturday shoppers all spoke hard cash,
crinkling blue notes from frantic hand to hand,
for translation into the languages of bread,
luggage, mirrors, bedsheets, ackee, saltfish, oranges,
CDs piled high crackling out of speakers hoping 
to sell themselves, catch ears by jangling chords
like sonic change, Sweet Mother bursting out from under cover, 
sailing over stalls, before snagging on soft piles of towels,
fading cadences lingering near friends eyeing sweet potatoes, 
lips pursed, assessing apples, plums, or chickens swinging 
from yellow metal stalls like gibbets, butcher’s eyes intent 
on plucking potential clients, not considering how market days 
once started between Victorian policemen’s teeth as whistles, 
turning market into match day scramble, the old shrill signal 
echoing in wrinkled faces, weighing fruit in punch-bowl palms, 
testing pears for ripe and heft, attending to subtle bruisings of banana, 
re-imagining that taste, first met years before, holding out unspoken hope,
appealing for another chance, to feel the fruit give, as berry sugar softness 
yields to mouth and teeth and tongue, back home, or on the way. 

My twitter handle is @richlyevocative and I also write a blog under the same title at richlyevocative.net

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