The night my girl flew to Paris
the phone rang and I thought
it’s her but heard the voice
of a man I did not know saying
I had fucked up and he knew where
I was and was coming to get me.
His voice had a Kray Twins sort
of truth and sneered as I said
I don’t know you I’ve never met you.
I’m coming to get you he said
I’m coming there to get you now.
That we lived in a flat atop
a large Edwardian home and thus
I had two front doors between me
and that voice was of some comfort,
though not complete. Some days later
when our old blue Triumph Herald
was stolen the police found it
a few streets away the wiper blades
twisted oddly like the arms of a man
imprisoned in a dungeon somewhere
down the East End or so it felt.
I got casual work in Fleet Street
left the Reuters building at dusk
got off at Highgate. By the tube
was a pub The Woodman where I drank
a pint or so then walked the dark
Queen’s Wood ten minutes to my door
love poems in my head for my girl
as I strolled beneath the trees.
One night voices hard and close
I heard two men crashing through
the woods walking fast with purpose.
Years later home in Australia I read
of Dennis Nilsen a former army cook
he had killed fifteen boys and men
picked them up in The Woodman
drugged killed and butchered
buried parts flushed others fed
entrails to animals got found out
only after neighbours complained
of blocked and smelly drains
in his flat in Cranley Gardens
at the end of our street.
Published in Best Australian Poems 2009, Black Inc., editor: Robert Adamson