I CHASED AN UMBRELLA

I chased an umbrella that floated through London. The drizzle of rain fell continuously on a stone moss covered cherub that was occupied by a nesting pigeon. The umbrella flew from the top of a bus. I followed. I heard it talking about the Belfast Peace Agreement, from beneath its canopy a cache of guns fell into a hole in the road. The umbrella floated through The City twirling round with a tilt to its axis. A small floating white dog began to bark at it, as a phoenix skulked across the road and set fire to a parked car. The umbrella flew into Conway Hall, dancers were rehearsing for a musical, it went into the ladies to drain away the water and emerged carrying all kinds of leaflets on anarchic and religious lectures in its handle. The umbrella grew two big greedy eyes and danced a little in the corridor. The umbrella continued its journey in the drizzling rain through Bloomsbury into a café where I sat with it for a while. Its two big eyes sometimes stared at me when I wasn’t looking. I took it into a shop to buy it a companion umbrella but it didn’t want one, instead it took a fancy to a transparent rain hat. On through the drizzle that was falling even heavier now it allowed me to hold onto it until we reached the British Museum. Undaunted by the mass of humanity sheltering under the portico, it folded itself up and entered inside and with its two big eyes found its way into the Oriental department where it fluttered over a Chinese Goddess. Then it followed me back passed the Babylonian room and down a long corridor to a secret chamber where birds of paradise flew in a blue mist. Finally it had to leave, I tried to hang onto the umbrella as it flew out of the Museum above the houses and came down into a huge drab city temple called The Barbican where life size plastic people on plinths stood about like in an architectural drawing. It found its way into a cinema and sat me next to a courting couple. I collected asterisks that fell from the Pearl and Dean adverts. Later on the umbrella became rebellious and flew around the complex in much restlessness. Back out into the city streets the umbrella was spinning now, a tongue of flame hung down from it and it began to say strange things making its two big eyes whiz around until it reached Liverpool Street. The rain was still falling now in delicate perpetual drizzle in a magical light. The umbrella went to platform three and got on a train to Bethnal Green. The station proved to be like a space structure high above the earth, I scanned the panorama of the East End from the balcony wall and saw the umbrella float down and away into the falling night.

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