night-long, overhear the notes of nightfall, nocturne of nightjars turning with the world from county to county in slown song: a slur of notes played without departure or border. There’s the thrown voice you seek: to be thrown into pure bird, poured song, hear the soft scar of the night’s wound. Let me rest’. A young Gypsy winks at me: ‘Take no notice of the sly old soak. It’s the DTs blathering through him now. He can’t get his act together by which we mean his Act. That shaman blether is stabbing him in the liver. This broken bottle. That smashed bottle there. The spirit’s spirited away his spirit’. The Gypsies laugh. ‘He made mad magic before the booze,’ another smiles. ‘The man could pirouette playing cards on his palm, flip the whole pack up to burst like doves, flapped down as one bird into the dovecote of his fist. One bird! At our winter fairs he’d dance the crowd on the marionette strings of his voice. No prop or pose. Not even a song. Now he’s the maddened ghost of his act…’. ‘Uncle!’ a teenage Gypsy jeers, ‘are you sleeping or waking? – or still fast in the fumes of the whiskey-world between dream and dram? Look at those dregs in his cup. He can’t read a word or world from them not for love nor money. Maybe he might, brothers – for another swig!’ The Gypsy spits: ‘He capers in the majesty
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