As the winners of mutual lotteries
of genetic and social privilege
compete before a billion worldwide eyes—

the Curiosity Rover comes of age,
beams back her Martian panoramic snaps,
that I glimpsed scrolling down a Facebook page

to make my escape through a finger tap
to view a world devoid or rain or snow,
more cause than podiums and victory laps

to sing, “Oh man, look at those cavemen go!”



If someone robbed me of a spare few quid
to go towards a fancy dinner spread
and offered me a spring roll, I’d take it.

So while you’ll never see me live or dead
down Stratford during that loathsome fortnight,
I might just watch it on my TV set

and hate it nonetheless. I paid for it.


I wonder which local tower block rooves
are nesting sites for rapier missiles?
Brooding sentinels, focussed above

for gatecrashers signaled by terror levels,
to hook onto the flailing Doppler shift
of that particular breed of evil

that seeks to blow up OUR Olympics.
Beneath the roof, some residents prepare
for imminent cuts to their benefits,

while job vacancies prove as rare
as bankrupt nations’ gold medal chances.
So jingoism circle jerks with fear,

we watch the sky for enemy advances
and ceremonial pyrotechnic flares;
’cause nobody is covering our arses—

our strategies are strictly ground to air.


How soft bellied and bookish I’ve become,
these years since I last left the council yard.
My tattoo turning green, my scrawny arms,

my mind fetid with all those printed words,
the grey pulp of knowledge. Don’t get me wrong,
I ploughed through books back then, my prole glare bored

into volumes while polluting my lungs
with tea break roll ups. I learned out of spite
for all those that thought poetry belonged

to the academy, packed up, air tight,
insulated from the social real.
I liked to punch above my mental weight,

to treat knowledge as something I could steal.


Watching my ancestral homeland lose
another game of continental footie
at least serves as a good enough excuse

to quaff a few cold beers. Italian ’90
was lost in the mist of my teenage angst,
and so, like those inebriate Japanese

who toast the blown blossom’s evanescence,
I toast the sharpness of Ukrainian grass,
our defence with more holes than a tramps pants,

the world can kiss my plastic paddy arse.


They’re having a street party two streets down.
I don’t begrudge their spirits, I won’t drive
my Republican dump truck through their lawns.

I sit at home and take a gentle sniff
of the flawless skin of my daughter’s left arm.
One forgets, through all the years we live,

how perfection imbued our newborn forms.
I choose to keep an eye on the future,
the dewy promise of the years to come,

and turn a cold and indifferent shoulder
to sixty years of our dear regents’ reign.
The right of birth might now be ten years older,

I’ll place my faith with all the newly born.


I’ve no problem with all that Argie Bargie,
the Thames clogged up with waving Monarchy,
let’s wave our flags, salute her Majesty

and let those inbred toffs float out to sea,
to meet her new subjects, some crabs and cod,
and as the waves grow higher, we will see

if, like the song says, she’ll get saved by God.


As I lay asleep in Herne Hill
the Effra’s voice sang out from underground
and its dark provenance urged me to tell

of demonic processions doing the rounds
of Blighty with a leaking, petrol torch
gleefully passed on from hand to hand.

First came Corporatism, on he lurched
decked in a cape of Coca Cola red,
peddling shitwater to the parched

(spoonfuls of refined sugar help the meds
go down) while clamping locks of steel alloy
to drinking fountains, their inscriptions read

the invitation/command to Enjoy!â„¢.
Next came Growth, he cast out seeds of glass
onto public allotments’ fertile lay,

where years of dedication and hard graft
from plot holders for growing nutrition
had made the clay soils friable. A mass

of shiny Shards and Westfields sprung from them
with promises of jobs and investment
though all the profits flew off to the same

high interest bank accounts in Switzerland.
Next came Privilege, the bumbling blond
squeezed into tops and tails of Bullingdon,

riding a bicycle, emblazoned
with the cool blue logo of Barclays,
which goes to show it’s easy to rebrand

the old financiers of Slavery,
just like the Centre Ground musical chairs
hands power back to the landed gentry.

Last in the relay was Propaganda,
who shirked the fad of the political,
instead he used his verbose whiles to send a

message of Self Empowerment to all
the nobodies that made the population,
for it is the poor themselves that have failed

in trying to escape from their dire station,
to climb the steps of meritocracy,
though some found other forms of elevation

that needs less footwork. Still, the mob can see
the path is clear, though barely climbable.
There’s no demand these days for tragedy.

The torch’s base spat out vast gobs of oil
that blocked up the remaining sewage grates,
though sometimes a glowing ember would spill

into the updraft, to almost escape
into the clutches of the unwashed hordes
though the escort of pale white, grunting apes

put out the flames before they could be caught.
But one slight spark continued past their reach
and gleamed as sharply as a rebel’s sword

and some within the crowd began to preach
that we could wield the flame, by right or force,
that all we had to do was wait and catch

its flicker with a nest of woven grass.
Though others trembled, pointed at the sky
and went right back to sitting on their arse,

willfully immune to liberty,
they fanned out their red tops to shield their eyes
from the unruly fire of Anarchy

that threatened to upend their breadline lives.


Am I alone in seeing something else
when Royal dignitaries and sporty types
fly over with a borrowed flame from Greece?

The birthplace of those great cognitive leaps,
democracy, the natural sciences,
the mask that grins aside the mask that weeps

and soon perhaps the human synthesis
to put an end to the undead  shuffle,
the slow, corrosive, meaningless morass,

the self propelling dance of Capital?
I see the children of Prometheus,
a procession of Molotov Cocktails,

repaying deficits to Olympus.


There is a slight correlation between
the little red arrows that point downwards
next to the markets’ names on the flat screen

and the grey hairs appearing in my beard,
my softening stomach, my thick crows lines
and neurons snuffing out within my head.

But then I touch your flawless newborn skin,
your supple joints, your blooming sense of self
and I’m less fearful of the grim downturn.

I’ve spent my youth and built no other wealth
to line our nest as winter sidles up,
and in these dying kernels of our world

I see the shining seeds for the new crop.

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