Under the City's Skin
by David Adès


Slipping under the city’s skin
I found another city and then another,
each built on the same ground,

agitating the same air,
more cities than I could imagine,
a maze without end

as if formed by Escher’s pen,
places all to lose myself,
drift wispy as a ghost,

fall between the cracks,
marked by byzantine alleyways,
gritty pocked pavements,

cobblestone streets, dark corners
slippery slick and vanishing,
all leading further in,

like the teeming oil-skinned rats
in their twitching pursuits,
the furtive men in black greatcoats

scurrying towards the million doorways,
that for all they revealed
in their brief illuminations,

led only to the closed worlds,
the secret rooms,
the secret lives beyond.






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