'Of what do you speak?'

I glanced up from my notes to meet the eyes of a stranger. He was a little ragged round the edges, his accent curiously familiar, his eyes kind.

'My poetry?'

He nodded, sat down beside me, and taking a pouch out of his coat pocket, began to roll himself a cigarette. He smelt of old tobacco, vanilla and tea leaves.

'I speak of technicolour dreams, and violent grey reality.'

'May I?' He motioned to his cigarette. I fished in my pocket, drawing out a lighter in reply to his question.

'Do you smoke?' He sucked on the end of the cigarette.

I shook my head. He drew in a deep breath, as his cigarette crackled alight. I dropped the lighter back in my pocket and focused once more on my notes. The pen within my hand stirred to life and scrawled madly across the page. I could feel his eyes gazing, questing for answers.

Silence surrounded the bench where we sat; deep silence, for a moment in which the scribbling sound of pen on paper was the only invader. The sounds of the city returned, and it felt as if we had been sitting next to each other for years.

'Are your words truth?'

'I write what I see. What I hear. What I smell. What I taste. What I feel, and touch.' My hands moved as I spoke. Writing abandoned. Pen clasped in hand against my heart.

'They're my perceptions of the world. Perhaps truth. Perhaps mere reflections of something beyond truth.' I turned to focus on the man's gaze once more. My eyes met an empty park bench; only a shadow of the stranger who had been seated there a moment before. A shadow, and a smouldering cigarette butt. I set my boot down to extinguish the glowing ash, and dug into my pocket for tobacco and papers.

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