The radio was playing Lovesick Blues
so I poured myself another cup. Then
I got up and went to the interviews.
I opened my book, I flourished my pen . . .
I sat in sumptuously appointed rooms
with slick-heeled women and serious men.
I nodded, smiled, crossed and uncrossed my arms.
I straightened my tie. I steepled my hands.
I made the same rehearsed joke seven times
and laughed at one I didn’t understand.
I said the word “synergy”. Tried phrases
like “bulge bracket”, “Big Four”, and “meta-brand”.
I ate a pink biscuit. Drank four glasses
of lemon tea. Sucked a Polo. Said no
to sandwiches, rolls, raspberry slices
and a rich, beguiling Chateau Margaux.
On Lombard Street, I sneaked a cigarette
and slugged two-thirds of a latte to-go.
Twice I was early. Three times I was late.
Once, I told a long, elaborately
sustained lie about my employment dates.
I argued, parried, challenged politely,
conceded, agreed with, said that perhaps
it was not but then again it might be.
I rode lifts. Climbed stairs. Clung to the straps
of buses and trains. I studied connections,
calculated journey times, scrolled through maps
upside down and memorised directions.
I signed registers. Smiled for a mug-shot.
Waited for hours in neon receptions.
I started out at Bank. Then came Earl’s Court.
I dog-legged to Dalston, swung a wide left
to Latimer Road (where briefly I got
lost) and rattled on to Queensway West.
I visited Frith Street, Fleet Street, London Wall,
Chinatown, Greek Town, Little Bucharest . . .
And over and again, throughout it all,
the rail, the road and the interviews,
I heard the sound, the soft, insistent call
of a radio playing Lovesick Blues.
Matt Pitt is a poet and screenwriter from Brighton. He has previously published in Ambit, Acumen, London Magazine and Prole. His debut feature film, Greyhawk, was shortlisted for the Michael Powell Award at the 2014 Edinburgh International Film Festival.