The high faluting customer enquires
of the Pakistani til clerk at Costcutter
if she cast her vote to choose the London Mayor.

I interrupt and say I cast mine but it
didn’t prevent Boris getting back in.
She’s grins nervously and dashes for the exit

and we all know the nature of her sin.
I saw a blue tit yesterday, they say
you have to leave London to see these things

but if you keep a sharp, observant eye
you’ll catch all manner of unlikely creatures—
for wherever you are in this city,

you’re never far from rats or Tory voters.


Canto XC

From this suburban hill, between each road,
the extremes of South London can be glimpsed.
A momentary glance to my left side

shows off the famous site for porcine blimps
that dotted the iconic Pink Floyd cover,
where yesterday our Mayor BoJo pimped

the latest Power Station makeover—
homes, businesses and jobs, jobs, jobs!
I look right to see smoky billows hover

above the burnished hues of Dulwich Wood,
perhaps a smoldering pile of leaves and branches,
but closer to me, just down the same road

the sudden scent of bacon sandwiches
blows up from a film crew’s catering van,
they must be shooting in the local houses—

another sitcom, condescending, bland.
you’ll catch it on a minor freeview channel
six mirthless episodes before it’s canned,

or maybe a tense thriller, starring an old
film actor, now signed up to ITV,
no longer needing The Method to channel

the hangdog spirit of a CID
inspector deciphering some cryptic kills.
It’s this or theater, dahlinks, no reprieve,

after those heartless bastards dropped The Bill.


The burnished bronze disc over autumn mist
that blows like crack smoke over dark red slate
of South London suburban terraces

moves me to toast my Edo period mate,
the noble Katsushika Hokusai,
and wonder what great prints he would create

on visiting the London of today.
In place of waterfalls, would he embrace
the Thames’s ripples reflected up high

by the skyscraper’s facade of plated glass?
Instead of geishas tangled in the limbs
of amorous octopi could he retrace

the same theme with the Spearmint Rhino dames,
the Queen’s face glaring from their stuffed G-strings?
In place of Mount Fuji or the Great Wave

would he carve out a mass of hooded teens
falling upon the Currys Superstore
and washing our their iPads and flatscreens

followed by Boris backwash and the hordes
of broom toting middle class liberals
who never before shared a kindly word

with street sweepers employed by the council?
Like an apprentice, I am yet to know
the true nature of things that’s shared by all—

the wave’s foam crown, the mountain topped with snow,
blinded by time, I don’t see what you see
as what you rendered all those years ago

comes round like the conveyor at YO! Sushi.

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