Living in the City 2

My lonely bed behind me,
I step out on my balcony
into hot, humid air so heavy
it feels like I’ve been kissed;

which is the only kiss I am likely to get today
in this God forsaken city where an open window
invites in the fumes and pollution of the motor car,
no less deadly because it is unseen than the smog
which filled the city streets of my youth,

and I long for those places
where I felt a warmth, a kinship
with the people,
with the streets,
with the landscape,
with the air
which had an honesty in its pollution,

and where my bed
was a place of sanctuary
and not of loneliness.


32 Responses to “Living in the City 2”

  1. Christine Lanham Says:

    Such a poignant poem…sending a kiss you will have another…love that line .
    Hope you are well x

  2. Gosh David, you meant it when you said this was bleak.

    Bleak it may be but it is a beautiful poem beautifully written.

    I will give you a kiss when we next meet and hope it helps.

    Love you lots



    • Thank you Christine,

      That’s two kisses from two different Christines so far this morning!!! Things are looking up 🙂

      I did consider not posting it, but it was valid on the day it was written.

      Love you lots


  3. Hi David,

    again a very good poem from you, about being nostalgic and homesick. I like it how the rhythm changes in the second stanza (I think it is called stanza) and makes it sound angry if you read it faster. You want to read it faster, because you want the rhythm to be like the first part I suppose. Clever! Also the longing, in the 3rd part, shows in the list of things you miss. You had a warm nest there. I once was in Ireland in the sixties and the people were very friendly and warm, but you also need to have a home that is like that to make you feel this way later in life.

    I am not sure this poem is about how you feel now, or a while ago. I just assume it is how you feel now, correct me if I am wrong. The feeling of loneliness you didn’t have then as a child, but you have now, it is very sad to feel like that. Moving back is not really an option as it won’t be like it was then, it never will be.
    It can be a terrible feeling of loss, I do know that.

    Getting that kiss should not be a problem for you though 🙂

    A bed should always be a place of sanctuary, I like that thought.

    Much love and a big hug 🙂 {{{{ David }}}}


    • Thank you Ina,

      I do appreciate this comment. The second stanza was intended to sound angry so I am really glad it worked that way for you.

      The poem was written a few weeks ago when I was feeling poorly and pretty pissed off about things. It originated in a poetry workshop at LIPPfest and I thought it was worth continuing with as it obviously refleacted some of how I was feeling on that day.
      And I do know that moving back is not really an option 🙂

      Much love and a big hug to you too 🙂


  4. I love the line, “which had an honesty in its pollution.”

  5. Strong piece of work. Much of Leeds is pretty grim. I was brought up in the Lake District, so there is even more contrast for me between Leeds and my home town in some ways (although I always find small towns a little claustrophobic and constrictive, to be honest).

    It can sometimes be easier to move house, than fill an empty bed though. 😉

    • I was brought up in Belfast Paul – a shipyard city, and I have great affinity with other shipyard cities and the people in those cities.

      I finished up in Leeds by accident really (to do with work) and have no great liking for it, although most of my social life is here.

      As for you last line – A very profound thought methinks!!! 🙂


  6. A very touching write David that I can identify with.

  7. Its sad David you not getting kissed.
    Im not sending you one or people might get the wrong idea 😆

  8. These lines are so lovely, and so vivid:

    into hot, humid air so heavy
    it feels like I’ve been kissed

    The staccato ‘angry’ lines also contrast so effectively with the lyricism of your final – so-sad – lines. I also like the movement between your consideration of your external environment, as you look out from your balcony, and your personal emotions.

    Beautifully done. I’ve read it several times.

    • Thank you very much for this lovely comment.

      Perhaps you would consider letting me know your name. It feels quite strange replying when I do not know it.


      • It’s kind of you to ask my name; I understand why you ask, but it’s just best for me at the moment to stick with ‘BH’. (Which I like, and at least one of the initials is correct!)

        Btw, my poetry explorations have today led me to Fernando Pessoa (I’m sure you’re familiar). I’ve been reading – several times – his poem ‘Tobacco Kiosk’ which I really like. By strange coincidence, it reminded me of your poem ‘Living in the City 2’, as it is from the same standpoint of someone looking out onto the street and considering both what he sees before him and the thoughts that are flowing through his mind.

      • *Smile* BH it is then.

        I had not come across Pessosa before – I will retirn later to peruse the poem.
        Thank you for the link.


  9. That’s beautiful, David – so much of what one reads about cities and urban spaces is hard, gritty and down-and-dirty, but this has a real fragility and poignancy: superbly done.

    • Thank you Nick,

      I am looking out onto greyness again this morning. But I may well venture out for a visit to the library and the Art Gallery later on. That these things are within easy reach is of course one of the benefits of living in the city 🙂


  10. Hi David,

    My apologies I’m so late to get a repsonse in on this wonderful poem.

    I’ve read it several times in my inbox, and each time was caught by the starkness of your emotions carrying through in your observations.
    The constrast between the past and the present made me feel as if the city has become colder, more oppressive.

    I’ve always loved the energy of the city and having been there this week and seeing yet again how much of it is changing your poem came to mind. My little Adelaide is nothing compared to your Leeds.

    For myself personally it reminded me how lucky I am to be able to live where I do and know I can visit the city but have the option of leaving.

    A new acronym for you K’sOTC. (kisses on the cheek). 🙂

    Thankyou for sharing such a poignant and thoughtful poem.

    I hope your week has been going well. 🙂

    ((((BSH)))) and
    K’sOTC 🙂

    • Hi Tikarma,

      I am smiling out loud at K’sOTC – Lovely – But not air kisses, genuine kisses on the cheek!! 🙂

      In lots of ways I envy you your location. I have a love/hate relationship with the city I think, or at least with Leeds.
      I walked in this morning to visit the Art Gallery, which of course I can do because I live in the city, but I am sure I would much rather have been walking on the pier 🙂

      We have finally this afternoon moved out of greyness into sunshine – that does help!!

      You take good care and I hope your week is improving 🙂

      K’sOTC 🙂

  11. really beautiful … and understand that to the T. on bad days here it doesn’t pay to open the windows or doors for “fresh” air … with a 4-lane street less than 20 feet away. i have found i can’t leave the window open overnight, or will awaken during morning rush hour with a giant headache from breathing the fumes.

    • Thank you Eileen,

      You are even closer to the road than I am. But not by much.
      It comes to something when I can’t open the window to let the smoke from my cigarettes out because I will be letting even more damaging fumes in!!!!
      Time to think again about moving to the seaside perhaps 🙂


  12. The imagery of your words is very strong and vivid. I like it. I can almost smell the smog.

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