Thursday 14 December 2017

Silt by Christopher Bowles

Christopher has been published in the previous Bridge House anthologies Snowflakes and Baubles, and has now established himself as a performance poet and playwright.  Since having opened his company Magpie Man Theatre in 2015, he has seen award-winning success with debut spoken word production MOUTH, and received critical acclaim for its physical theatre successor AUTOPSY.

This year he is set to introduce his one-man show Live In Technicolor, and continues his work as resident spoken word artist with WWI remembrance choir HONOUR.
His collection Spectrum was published by Chapeltown in July 2017. 


There isn’t any traffic.
...Why can’t I hear any traffic?

The streets are too quiet. My footsteps clatter and echo off street walls like boisterous children. They simply don’t sit still, ricocheting off into the dark corners and behind builders’ skips. The cobble stones are uneven, and I have to make sure my feet don’t fly out from under me; even though I’m not walking fast. Or with purpose. Directionless, wandering the city at night.

I heard if you listened hard enough, at the hour of witches, you could hear the city sing your name back to you.

My shoes are scuffed. Only slightly, from where I tripped on the stairs earlier that night. They are new. They are also pointier than the kind I’d normally wear – they make my narrow feet look even longer than usual; and when I first tried them on in the shop, I felt like a clown. But I bought them anyway. They were perfect, and they went with my suit, and I was really running out of time.
The laces are tightly tied, as if by my mother’s expert hand. I recognise her handiwork all over my appearance tonight. The way I swept my hair back in a delicate slick over my crown. The way I starched my collar, and straightened out my bow-tie before the evening began. Even the simple manner in which I pulled out chairs for the ladies, and held open doors for strangers.

When one door closes, another opens. If all you see are closed doors, find a window. Make one if you have to.

Tonight, I was very much my mother’s son. She raised me well. I even ironed my trousers. I never iron my trousers. I made sure the pleat fell in just the right way, strong, yet not over-pronounced. I dug out that faded old suede bag filled with boot polishes and brushes. I made sure I sparkled.
I had to make a good impression.

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