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Fiction: Rhapsody in Boole

Crushed brown beans and whistling hot steam, squashed mango pierced with a straw.
The saccharine paste, dripping, at the back of my mouth.
The solitary, synthetic caffeine surge. That shivering warmth inside of me. The
September breeze. Shop windows and heavy eyes. The cries of the Examiner
Startling the models, dummy struck, inside of their glass pen.
I am the Lord Mayor for twenty minutes, then, the commute. A cobbled catwalk,
Tailored skirts. Dichromatic fabrics swaying – at the necks of well combed men.
Attaché cases, little black cars in the hands of giants, gliding across the high path.
I am a rat in lamp-post lights, seeking refuge.

A sanctuary, soon reached.
All is still, still. Until the call of the clock,
And suddenly, a surge. Young ones, elders, and in-betweeners.
Welding newspapers, digests and eco-mugs, like a scholarly mutant army.
They submerge the cantina, and my ticking watch whispers: ‘go, you must’.
Still dazed, I am obedient. And so I thrust, outwards.

I skim foul runes with the tip of my fingers, across the recent oak.
My neighbour slumbers, while our professor stumbles behind the lectern.
Lines of dramatic poetry, skating above our somnolent heads.
The hall, with its dazzling lights, seems clinical, but The Norton Anthology,
Our King James, sets the homely pace of our daily sermon. A pace which, unlike true love, really Does run smooth. Fairy Queens and Kings, slain dragons and ancient romance. Mature learners and adolescent freshers. An uncanny ecosystem of years.

We separate at the fall of dusk. Ox-carts give way to Hondas.
Hounds bark and tipplers sing like larks. The capital, humbles itself,
For the shredding of worn feet across the icy pavement. Its lights dimmer
And the red coaches dispatch a wealth of fatigued labourers,
Back to modest abodes or ale-houses.
Facing the echo of light at the surface of the Lee,
We await, once more, the return of the new day.