Vincent Clay


Good Things in Bad Houses

Owing to a camera that is at best temperamental
and at worst downright faulty,
lacking the money to repair or upgrade
and anyway, only remembering when running downstairs
                                                        on my way out
I have failed to photograph
two things that I really liked.

One: a skylight
punched into the slope of the ceiling
of a large terraced house in Camberwell.
Over the full space above the stairs,
four sides hang vertical between
the unequal pitches of ceiling and roof,
each face shaded different by
light through dirty frosted glass.
Walking up or down, composition of these shapes
would shift – a seamlessly developing series.
And the further element:
these shapes sometimes cut across by sunlight
that would track the minutes in its creep.

Two: a banister
at the top turn of the stairs
of a huge leaking semi- in Brixton.
The sharp switchback between the flights, seen from the landing:
not a hairpin, but a graceful decline;
slow curve through space,
a swan neck.