Passing through Метал,
we’re watching patches of sky
through empty factory windows.
Or abstract colour patches –
they’re carpets, clothes out to dry –
showing signs of lives persisting
in the apartment blocks trackside.
Crossed hammers on a rooftop
are what’s left of former glories
spelled out in one last slogan
enduring from those times:
the dignity of labour in the mines.
Precisely on the hour we’re underground.
Water pumps, cutters, extractor fans
are just so much relic machinery.
We’re reading museum labels.
The light at the end of this tunnel
is another searing June day.
For now we’re out of the sun,
cool in these galleries that once
were hot and noisy as hell –
a hell all but one hope had abandoned.
Crushed cans, rolling bottles,
rubbish strewn across a podium –
they’re overlooked by poets
and their famous words:
exhortations to build new worlds
from a century back or more.
It’s as if they might rise above
remains of a new economy –
the one that shut factories, mines,
left populations adrift
in apartment blocks skirting a town
in search of its fresh purpose.
Pernik, 22 June 2019