by Peter Wyton

An intoxicated humming-bird, the town drunk is up early,
sipping the flat nectar of last night’s last orders
from glasses abandoned on pub window sills by the smokers.
Then there is a harvest of dog-ends to be gathered in before
the street cleaner gets his act together, his wheelie-vacuum whirring.
On a bench beneath the market arches he consumes cold chips,
stale pizza slices discarded by revellers homeward bound.
As morning wears on, there are commissions to be undertaken
in newsagent and off-license, cigarettes for ten years olds,
six-packs of lager for their elder brothers, payment in cash or kind.
By eleven o’clock, he’s in the Gents at the short-stay car park, pouncing
on startled tourists, with requests for ‘The price of a bus ride home’.
Prompt at midday, pockets jingling, he mounts the first of many bar-stools
on the via sacra of the afternoon pub crawl, conveying the hors d’oeuvre,
in his idea of a businessman’s lunch, to trembling lips.
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