Brighton’s second wave- October 2020

It was March when the city stood still,
Bustling streets became empty derelicts,
Haunted by the ghosts of the little shops that once thrived,
The city hailed as a capital of diversity, full of the worlds cultures, people of all genders and
colours, sexualities, people who didn’t fit into your standard city,
The people were gone, and so were the quirky little backstreets,

I sat inside my home,
Things were imperfect,
The temptation to reach for my old chemical vices were a great deal stronger,
Stronger than they had been for a long time,
Four years,
I wouldn’t throw that away,
But it did cross my mind,

Time passed at the blistering speed of nothing,
Days merged into each other as the life blood of the city drained away,
We were trapped by our fear, but yearning to escape,
Would we be the unlucky ones?
Or would the isolation take us first?

Gradually the city restarted,
But it was scarred,
Where once the personality of Brighton was in the lanes and backstreets,
Now the personality was in the people wearing masks, giving one other a wide berth,
One by one the cute restaurants closed,

Amber alert, they said,
It seemed a second wave was imminent,
Brighton already layered in the gutter,
The people unable or perhaps unwilling to take another beating,

Fear still grips us,
We wonder when this new normal will end,
When will the once great city, beacon to those on the outside of society, stand up?
Take its rightful place again as a bastion of diversity and culture,
Our future is uncertain, and with the nightmare of loss,
But it is up to us to forge a new city, a new world,

I write this because I want to capture the city as a living breathing entity,
For eight months, this city, like many in the UK, has been starved of oxygen,
We are doing what we must, despite what it is doing to our living city

We need this world to be fixed, and in time, to be rebuilt.

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic addict, sober and in recovery, living in Brighton, UK. He is Chief Operating Officer of NeuroClastic Inc. (an autistic advocacy website run by autistic people), and has been interviewed on several publications including Aucademy. He writes extensively on the topic of autism, addiction, and mental health, and is working on a poetry collection to capture his life as an autistic addict.

Alexander Limarev, freelance artist, mail art artist, curator, poet, photographer from Siberia / Russia. Participated in more than 900 international projects and exhibitions. His artworks are part of private and museum collections of 64 countries. His artworks as well as poetry have been featured in various online publications including Killer Whale Journal, Bukowski Erasure Poetry Anthology (silver Birch Press), Treehouse Arts, Zoomozophone Review, Backchannels, Briller Magazine, The Gambler, Caravel Literary Arts Journal, Tuck Magazine, Angry Old man Magazine, Caliban Online Magazine, Degenerate Literature, Sonic boom Journal, Gallery @ Studio Arts Journal, Zouch Magazine and others.