Gray's Inn Road is a burst of sound:
drills, sirens, thudding bass from cars that
the bones of you.
McDonald's is a magnet, drawing people in
and stuffing them with
plastic burger buns, synthetic enough to survive an apocalypse and
outlive us all.
Taxis crowbar themselves into spaces you'd never think a car could fit
like swerving pros,
the swell of traffic crushes through;
shops come and go:
a launderette one day, empty the next, ready to be fitted as a cupcake store.
Above the massage shop that
hasn't made enough to justify a permanent sign
is a secret message from the past,
"Scales, weights, weighing machines"
Daubed as though graffiti from the distant dead,
a ghost of commerce long-gone,
where things were clunky, functional, required.
Not touchscreen, like now,
not weightless, backlit, to amuse each spare second.
I like to think of men behind the counter,
clasped hands and
long aprons barely touching a dusted floor, where
people came to buy their scales
a pilgrimage to a specialist
on the Gray's Inn Road.