There is a virtual lion loose in Essex.
Its mane’s weaved from a thousand jokey tweets.
Its body is a flickering, quantum flux

between King of the Beasts and household cat.
Its only trail’s a vast swathe of newsprint,
Its roar is fibre optic and its scat

is piles of dodgy Photoshopped attempts
at peerless documentary evidence.
Tonight, it shakes its tail to leave its scent

against every suburban garden fence
and falls asleep unseen on garage roofs.
As tabbies’ shadows lengthen at sunset,

so harmless facts grow into monstrous truths.



Now there’s something I’d never thought I’d hear,
no, not the digitally remastered trumpets
from the jazz bar that just opened up next door—

a subtler, blander soundtrack that emits
from greener fringes, where the boxed in lives
don’t have to fret about parking permits;

where mortgages tick down from twenty five,
the schools crank up their catchment tractor beams
and working class types vote Conservative;

where mildly disaffected emo teens
pass round the cider by the rusted swings
on Labrador fertilised local greens;

my own bespoke back garden shed’s waiting
amidst my patchy lawn and flaccid rhubarb.
It is the tune I never thought I’d sing,

the flat, contented hum of the suburbs.


This is truly what we’d call a nowhere—
a rain drenched dash past nondecsript hedgerows,
occasional stretches of pylon wire,

the dull-eyed sheep and heavy, ripened cows,
the overfarmed consolation of green,
crops lined up like stacked shelves in Tescos,

the little villages, what pretty scenes
must play on their 40inch plasma screens
after Daddy’s Mercedes has returned

from another commute to the Stock Exchange.
The Welcome Break is just six miles away,
the homely ring and crash of fruit machines,

the aroma or freshly stale coffee.
As night falls, we keep watch for clustered lights,
to signal the approach of the city,

no truer wilderness to these tired eyes.

Canto LXXX

My wife tells me to stop wasting my day
debating racist posters on Yahoo.
She has a point, I doubt that they will change

their Little England, Stormfront sanctioned views,
instead I should just picture them glaring
through net curtains into suburban mews

to double check they will not soon be sharing
their little village with some foreign types,
before going to back online to make daring

assaults on PC liberals that hype
the multi culture from our city flats.
Perhaps we should take this as cause for hope,

the views that once were issued by fiat,
by hereditary Lords and party leaders,
are only voiced by faceless, trolling prats

and higher ranking officials at FIFA.

Canto XVI

On the southeast edge of broken Britain
our nephew scrawls the word “bum” onto sand
then smiles for the shot, as blameless as a kitten.

We sweep the beach at sunset though we planned
to wolf down greasy piles of fish and chips
but found the shutters down on shops and stands.

There are no oil rigs or passing ships
to pepper the horizon’s bare expanse
that flares amber as our mother star dips—

its final dose of photons find the lens
at edge of country, season, edge of day;
provides a feast for almost every sense,

then we resume our quest for takeaway.

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