Canto CCLXXXVIII

In place of a church baptism you get
a poky office in Brixton Town Hall,
no Holy Water poured, just an ink jet

printing your official names in full.
You’re in the system now, there’s no escape,
your first tax year will arrive on schedule

in sixteen years from now, no-one can wipe
a tainted record clean, but just remember
some aspects of your life won’t yield to type,

you can’t be crunched if you are not a number.

Canto CCLXXXI

Each time I’ve ever walked out of the Ritzy,
after those countless CGI packed bores,
the unwanted headache of 3D,

I find Brixton town boisterous as before,
despite the poncing up of Windrush Square—
the boozy benches and the postcode wars

in every dimension that you could care
to throw a textbook on String Theory at
and there’s no need to wear dark glasses either,

unless, of course, you’re a bit of a twat.

Canto CCXII

Outlast the cans of Tennants in the paws
of the alkies perched on the memorial bench.
Outlast the greyhound, outlast the police horse,

outlast the other runners, never launch
into a sprint when you get overtaken.
Outlast the the stomached remnants of your lunch,

outlast your overpriced and worn out trainers.
Outlast the three skin reefers set alight
by overeager middle class teenagers.

Outlast this magic hour’s-worth of twilight,
outlast the keepers’ padlocks and the guns
that dealers stash in bushes, out of sight.

Outlast Herne Hill’s gentrification.
Outlast the techno singularity.
Outlast your urge for home. Outlast the sun.

Outlast the fad of Post-Modernity.
Outlast the cults of Jesus and Steve Jobs.
Outlast the fucking Duracel Bunny,

Outlast the silicon in Jordan’s boobs,
Outlast the half life of Plutonium,
Outlast dichotomies of Prole and Nob.

Outlast the endless death of Capitalism
Outlast the inbred farce of monarchy.
Outlast the zombie holocausts to come.

Outlast the heat death hum of entropy,
Outlast our destiny of perfect zero.
Outlast the doggerel of pish like me.

Outlast the bandaged wangers of the Pharoahs.

Canto CLXII

The rasta man waves his finger at me
and bellows in full voice as I jog by
“I ain’t got time for your mentality!”

He might be nuts but in a sense he’s right,
that’s why I’m out here now, trying to lose
the useless weight that builds within my mind.

Fear not reader, this is not one of those
poems where the poet concurs with
the random bawlings of a basket case

I could’ve told him that I couldn’t give
a rat’s arse for his random monologues
and paranoiac, solipsistic jive

but held back out of respect for his dog.

Canto CXL

I’m downing espressos with my mate Wellsy
at the Phoenix Cafe in Coldharbour Lane,
we talk of poetry, old films and wrestling,

the first is in the state it’s always been,
a glass clinking ripple as we’d expect it.
We remember Todd Moore and his wise saying

about how a poem should come hard as a bullet
and soft as a tit; the old films stay old
and ageless in the way they hit their target.

The wrestlers rest while feigning strangleholds,
holding their pose like classical statues
contorted by the pressures of the world,

the chorus raise their placards high, argue
the merits of their heroes, wish them luck.
The son’s refrain is countered by the father

as “Lets go Cena” becomes ” Cena sucks!”

Canto V

I’ve known this manor for nearly ten years,
saw bistros nudge out all the codger pubs
though at the postcode’s edge, you might still hear

the pattie shop soundtracks of Ska and Dub.
I may be local but I’ve never been
beyond another resident’s doorstep

I’ll smile hello to passing human beings
and nudge their baby’s cheeks or pat their mutts—
I’ll even share a crap joke before fleeing.

But normally I keep my cakehole shut,
I turn a death ear to the teens’ melee
and only lose my rag when people tut

because they never move out of the way
to make way for my jiggling fifteen stone
as, graceful as a hippo, I jog by—

flicking the Vs right back before I’m gone
to schlep my guts through laps of Brockwell Park
with eighties hardcore cracking my ear bones,

not fearing mugger’s shank or pitbull’s bark,
alone at last with my backwash of thought,
until somewhere within my psyche’s dark

my aggro-ometer resets to nought
so I can plod back through my neighbourhood.
I’m fighting fit for knocking tercets out

and for the future shock of fatherhood.

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