With These Hands: A Man Goes Down.
Moscow Road, London W2. Autumnal Equinox. Noon.

I looked up
at the sound (of course). A man was



about his centre of mass. I
tried to remember:
which component was pitch? Yaw? Roll? His
centre of mass
was following a parabolic arc (of course) now


with my shoulders, climbing, then
his head and his torso made
with the broad, black
roof of the car and

the sign

of his rotation

reversed. I wondered
where my centre of mass might be and

his parabolic arc

the broad, black tarmac.
He was still.

I was
familiar with the way it works,
(of course); he
bounded up and

continued walking, as if nothing
but his leg, as if
then he sat
in front of me,
in the street, looking
at his belly, breathing slow, as if


he leaned all the way back, as if it were the

thing to do, blinking, blinking, blinking, bleeding,
just a little from his ear, his nose, his mouth, his

The sole of his shoe
was exactly where his foot had left it (look
at the line of cobbler's nails, standing
like fools, in frozen rank).

I told a shopkeeper: call 999.
I told the driver: put your jacket over the man.
I told a passer-by: run
out here, stand your ground,
in front of traffic,
stop the traffic dead, stop it

with your hands, like this.

JDP 2002/11

Copyright John D Porter © 2002

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