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This poem is taken from PN Review 236, Volume 43 Number 6, July - August 2017.

Five Poems
from Mancunia
Michael Symmons Roberts
Superintendent of Public Spectacles*

Even he, on slow afternoons
as he files his reports on tuneless buskers,
living statues caught out breathing,
street magicians sent to re-learn their trade
because too many ladies have been found,

even he will let his gaze wander through
his office window out across the roofscape,
where a mongrel barks on a balcony,
where a nurse hands in her notice,
sick of the sick. She strides out past

those die-hard smokers on the steps,
wheeling their drip-rigs, on their last legs.
Even he (who understands spectacle,
who knows how it can seize the attention
so an audience forgets its future)
...


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