Gorbals

Written by: Thvia Stein

The stench of urban decay winds thick 
and rank through squalid, narrow
streets christened with booze and urine,
permeating decades of neglect.

A drunken derelict slurs enthusiastic 
amens in hopeful penance at a rabid 
street-corner prophet spitting frothy 
travesties of religious dogma and warning 
of the divine wrath of a burlesque god.  

A conspicuous tourist clutches her handbag 
nervously as she skirts the entrance of a graffitied
alleyway and pretends to ignore the wolf-whistles
of a nearby band of loitering malcontents.

Her pace quickens at the sound of footsteps
and raucous laughter closing in behind her
while desperately seeking safety and the 
illusive walking bridge leading to the protective
haven of St. George's bustling square.