Spirit of Place


From my living room window,
I have a direct view
of The Flat of Presence.

Presence, Spirit, call it
what you will, but we must talk,
I’m afraid, of Goodness and Evil.
All who enter are coarsened,
changed, over time; become
rough beasts, resorting to crime.
Crass though it is, I fantasise:
it sits, it hovers, brooding, malign.
It feeds on their souls; instils
an urge for deviance, for the
perverse; addiction to tattoos,
to drugs, or worse. I see
their entrances, their exits.
I witness, numberless times,
the tenants arriving, delight
in their eyes; enthused with
the thrill of a new enterprise.
Mere months later they exit,
raddled by booze; skinny
bodies covered in tattoos.
In police shackles,
undernourished, pale,
they are pushed to the van,
hauled off to jail.

From clean-living youth,
to drug-dealing disgrace.
I observe it, objectively,
case by case, but avoid
direct contact, look not
upon its face, for fear
it exists, this Spirit of Place.

This is another poem in my on-going sequence of poems about events and characters in the flats where I happen to live.  I don’t have any real belief in the supernatural or the occult, but it is difficult for me to explain, rationally, what inevitably seems to happen to the occupants of “The Flat of Presence”.  I have lived here for almost thirty years now, and the number of times I’ve witnessed the same chain of circumstances happening in that one building seems quite remarkable. 


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