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It sneaks in through my window, through my duvet too,
It crawls under my bed sheets; I haven’t got a clue,
How to keep the city out when I try to sleep,
For just one night I’d love to write, that I didn’t hear a peep.

The voices shout and laugh at first; somebody thinks they’re funny,
There’s someone sitting right outside asking folk for money,
The football chants start quite soon too, every night they sing,
United are the team for them and Eric is their King.

Wolf whistles pierce the city air, as drunkards start to slobber,
At hen girls strolling down the street dressed in burlesque clobber,
One bloke tries a chat up line, his mind it plots and schemes,
Do one you punk, you must be drunk, not even in your dreams.

The hens all laugh and scuttle off to find their chippie shop,
A herd of galloping horses pound, their heels all clippety clop,
A car slams on and beeps its horn as one steps into its path,
Then someone tells a dirty joke and a hundred hyenas laugh.

What’s going on? Was that a fight? Is it kicking off outside?
I’d better look; I’d better check, someone could have died,
But in seconds flat the hens are back, singing loudly and in time,
“I’ve had the time of my life,” they sing. I want to finish mine!

A mobile phone is ringing but the tune’s not clear to me,
Then someone’s shouting in their phone like Trigger Happy TV,
Every word filters up and wanders through my head,
Whole sentences are queuing up at the bottom of my bed.

Back to my pit, I try again to block out all the noise,
But someone finds a traffic cone, to entertain his boys,
He shouts through it and sings a song then puts it on his head,
Then sirens fill the city air, and silly boys with dread.

They shout and scatter everywhere but the sirens carry on,
Police cars roaring ever loud, then eventually they’re gone,
At last I think there’s quiet, the city sounds quite calm,
I spoke too quick, I must be thick; a shrieking car alarm.

I sit up to figure out; did they move me in my sleep?
Has someone pushed my bed outside, am I sleeping in the street?
The noise is loud and shows no sound of ever letting up,
Give up I think, you won’t get a wink and consider getting up.

My early night will never be, I might just join my friends,
Might just see what bar they’re in and see where my night ends,
But silence falls to coax me in and keep me in my bed,
It’s like it knows when I get up and sends quietness instead.

But next it is nature’s turn, rain crashes on my window,
And I beg for silence to return from the deep depths of my pillow,
All thoughts of sleep have disappeared; from my mind they’re quickly wrenched.
As howls of pain pierce my ears as folk are swiftly drenched.

Shrieking fills the night again, laughs peppered by a scream,
The noises keep my mind awake, it’s impossible to dream,
It’s like I’m on the street with them, it’s like I am outside,
Headphones, ear plugs, background tunes, there’s nothing I ain’t tried.

The only cure, it seems to me, if revellers make you groan,
Is stay out late; like way past eight, and be the last one home,
Last man standing, last to bed, make sure you miss the noise,
Then straight to bed, and straight to z’s bring stillness to your poise.

But at last it’s silent outside my flat; the revellers have gone home,
No shouts, no sirens, no alarms or annoying mobile phones,
I turn my pillow, cold side up and shuffle snugly in,
As silence shrouds my city night, no noise at last, no din.

But then I hear it faintly, although it’s getting near,
Then realise to my horror, the road sweepers are here,
Clearing up the rubbish from the night before,
I know it’s time to give up sleep as that hum becomes a roar.

The bottle bins are emptied from the bar over the street,
I hear two women walking; high heels on their feet,
The bin men are outside my flat; it couldn’t get much worse,
With their lorry beeping loudly as they slow-ly reverse.

I know the screech that follows too; I know it straight away,
As metal squeals around the town; the first tram of the day,
The main road is alive outside; the next roar is from a bus,
Night time’s gone; I’ve missed my sleep and morning time’s on us.

Manchester has woken up; my sleep shattered as it fails,
The city from my pillow; it tells a thousand tales,
A thousand conversations all shouted and not said,
When the only sound I want to hear begins and ends with Z.

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin
All rights reserved.

Doorway Under The Arches