As I walked down our road
I glanced down the back alley
A young lad standing against the wall
Head facing downwards, sleeping vertically

Round by TKMaxx, two police vans pass by silently
Then under the low bridge I pass a class-full of revellers
Shoulder-to-shoulder they cheer their way
Home, or perhaps to the next party

I reach my old haunt and set up below the lit sign
A car passes and parks nearby, playing a loud Asian beat
A shift worker cycles past in the other direction –
‘You painting? Time for sleeping!’

Even the birdsong here is squawking, chirpy din
My drawing’s wonky, but I press on
Tone after tone to block in, a dozen separate brushes
Used then discarded for each change of hue

I am part-way into my second board –
Lighter hue for the rising dawn
When the streetlight goes out… game over
Time to pack up, focal point gone for today

I take a sip of tea from the flask
Then forget to check the chip shop opening times
Trudging wearily back down Beckhampton Street
A staggering figure ahead stoops in search of cigarette butts

Round the corner a heavyweight plods his 5am way to Kiss Gym
And a Travelodge guest carries a tall Belgian beer to his room
Back to bed for me, weary but satisfied
A small step forwards