Chris Singleton: Long After They Pass

Long After They Pass

When you cross paths with a stranger
the air spirographs the remnant of their scent
paints pictures with a palate of pheromones and
fragrance, your soul senses the legacy of
memories you thought you’d forgotten.

It could take you anywhere, this elderly empathy:
to the pungent perfume of a post-pub pubescent fumble,
to your graffitied school desk, teacher’s halitosis lingering long after they pass,
to sneaky guinnels where your friend blends locker room deodorant with secret smoker’s stench.

Or maybe it takes you to a time unstained by the mundane,
ancient streets where you once stumbled late-night Olympics
floodlit by supermoon skies; felt the demise of summer
as the clouds shed sloppy kisses to soak the pair of you,
sprinting for shelter, palms held over the top of cheap plastic wine,
and you know even as you give chase that one of you won’t make it,
your feet splashing in their trailing scent, they look over a shoulder,
and the smile they wear seems infinite-

Warm rain, pavement, today.
The stranger who did nothing but cross your path
wearing eau de l’histoire, remains oblivious to your reminiscence
tattoos the beat of their feet on the street a steady retreat replete
with an echo in your thoughts, played on repeat:
you were there, you were there, you were there.

About the Artist

Chris is a spoken word/theatre artist from Leeds and Artistic Director of Brave Words.

His debut show, How to be a Better Human, was shortlisted for two Saboteur awards.