While walking to work, I paused at College Green to look at the Skateboarders tree. A magnificent beast with its back to Bristol Cathedral and its front festooned with laced and hanging discarded sneakers. And I as I absorbed the full weight of my mortgaged life, I stooped to write it all:

Debtors bow to last season’s unfashionable fayre,

For hanging in the Nike air are reddened soles

Pre-laced and flung with ease to congregate upon,

The bared bones of isolated city trees.

Parasitical plimsoll lines bunch and slump

And blanch for fun at passers-by

Who just like me, flinch a glimpse to workshy dreams

Of unstrung night time barefoot wanderings.

This, so say, ground down young man’s wilful pledge was thrown

From tarmacked crack to privileged home

‘Be hold, Be bold, Let go,’ it said

And free your moulded feet from standardised pavement edge.

Make room, commune anew with wholesome heart and head

To see me and you flying free in a compassionate city scape instead.

Yes yes, to see we two gently cloak this current cold

With warming swathes of loosening rules as brother to brother,

We hang and sway inside each other’s dampening shoes.

To sensate a sharing pulse within fragile skin

To co-exist and string out in spaciousness and time

And in time to peacefully upon,

Fine threads so thin to shine out copious kindnesses

To both young and old to ward off this oft said

City centre cold, and boldly blow breath by breath

Bright Light from above and from below.

To make clean air from fresh leaves.


We too can deeply care for the collective plight

Of our delicately denuded dangling