The Midnight Run!

In July I was lucky enough to be involved in a wonderful thing called The Midnight Run – led by poet Inua Ellams, a group of people explore a city at night; walking, chatting and taking part in creative activities laid on by the artists selected for that particular outing. The run I was involved in also featured a musician, a holistic therapist, a film-maker, and a photographer, and was laid on for young creatives taking part in the ‘Africa Eutopia’ season at Southbank Centre.

I would tell you more about what we got up to, but part of my job for the night was to write a poem, which I hope says what it needs to. You can read and listen to here:

The Midnight Run
At midnight
We should be somewhere high up
things matter less here
The skinny brick wall, walk it
with a day on either side, walk it
hard as it is to balance long enough to stay
walk it arms together, pointing only up.

London wears midnight like a new suit
still pristine, the shirt tugged open at the neck.
These are nights of running, fast
running fast pointless fast relays fast
Round the crypt of St. Martin’s Vestry Hall
rolled up newspapers = batons
roaring crowds = the wobbly post-pub peleton
drunkenly urging us on.
These are nights of walking, slow
With no purpose but to walk,
Nights of quick stops at newsagents
That take ages, clan clustered chatting
Outside, waiting for the last of us to hurry up and choose
Only to realise that we are all here.
And have all been here for some time.
Move on. One Midnight
can strip you naked with a glance
Gather what you can around you
Let it go. These are nights of music.
And much later, in a quiet street
TJ plays a melody his mother hums, always
listening, I see her in her kitchen,
but his guitar makes this a kitchen that I know
Again later, now alone
I stop on one wide pavement, and face another
building that is tall enough to make me feel a child.
The top floor: four windows are lit.
I will put one problem in each.
And stand here, on the pavement opposite
Until all the lights are out. Until my midnight
is as clear as Whitman’s midnight, Within time
I see the space between things
as much as the things themselves
things matter less here
midnight has left it’s handprint
on the window of my soul.
In the morning when I wake
I breathe on the glass, tap it once
And watch it crack. It makes a sound
Like the sky.

Simon Mole, 2012