Canto CCLXV

I’m out on my first run in bloody months
fueled by a mental engine full of spite,
rehearsing the daily arguments

I have with strangers on the internet,
and no it wasn’t blooming foliage
that softened my temper, it was the sight

of an Alsatian, padding slowly, pitched
on two back wheels while his lifeless hind legs
dangled in slings. No rage can persist

on sight of happy, wheel assisted dogs
that may as well be shot behind the shed.
Despite our conflicts over land and flags,

we humans can not be totally bad,
and we can change the world, oh, yes we can!
The happy thought bumbles about my head

til I remember Hitler was a vegan.

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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 CXXVII

I haven’t had a single beer at home
since the piss stick heralded the news
that life had blossomed within my wife’s womb,

so I can be a bit judgmental too
when the man who plays guitar down Brockwell Park
bought himself two cans of Special Brew

at 8am. The cashier wasn’t shocked,
must be his usual, just like my croissants.
Some drink for pleasure, some drink to get fucked,

some drink for courage, some get drunk to dance
and some get tanked up so that they can strum
the summer anthem for their first romance

at a park bench with their alkie chums,
who join in when the chorus comes around
just like it did in 1971

in some back room venue in Camden Town.

Canto CXXV

I confess to goddess Atalanta
that it has been two weeks since my last run.
Accept this meagre, lightweight lap I offer

but mark that among all the erring ones,
I’ve not left it as long as many others
who made their New Year’s resolutions

to lace up last year’s running boots to venture
onto the outer pathway of the park,
clutching their precious bottles of water

as if a January, half mile trek
equalled a marathon in the Sahara.
I’ll give nearly all of them a week

and half of them will not be back tomorrow.
Then things will go back to the way they were,
the pitbulls pant, the alkies drown their sorrows,

the faithful seek to give you one lap more.

Canto CIII

At the old 24 hour garage, years back,
during that gay shindig in Brockwell Park,
I watched drunk lesbians shove dirty mags

into their jeans. The timid counter clerk,
behind his thick sheet of reinforced glass,
pleaded with them through his trebly mic

to put them back or he would call the police.
They laughed and carried on, calling his bluff,
knowing he’d make the call but then he’d freeze

when having to speak of litho printed muffs
and pissed up, rowdy, sapphic shoplifters.
And my appearance also raised a laugh,

my loaf of bread and rolls of shitpaper
conveyed how I would spend my Saturday night.
They knocked the whole thing down a few years later,

all boarded up, a skaghead’s paradise,
where syringe needles gleam from wild flowers,
the plans for yuppy flats have been revised

to cater for young families. Not ours.

Canto LXXXIV

I run two laps during the magic hour
and from a certain point I shoot a glance
toward the city’s growing clutch of towers

then back towards the sloping hills that once
were used for grazing sheep in the Great War.
Below, the workers in their council vans

have knocked off from their current daily chore,
installing drainage to tackle the lakes
that form downhill after every downpour,

though it seems every penny that we make
flows upwards, zooming through the city’s veins
to reach the ground floor as the street lights wake

to rise storey by storey til they gain
the penthouse vantage point from which they fly
to offshore spawning grounds where they remain

oblivious to our receding lives.

Canto LXXV

Oh Marnie Stern, you frantic fingered femme,
guitar goddess, don of the tapping style,
New York art rocker, not hipster scum—

like Vera Lynn sent men in double file
to die a gruesome death in Normandy
you spur me on to run that extra mile

of Brockwell Park, that is until some Rottie
mistakes my left leg for a turkey drumstick.
His owner’s on the phone so she’s not worried.

I have no plans to become doggie steak,
a karmic pay off for Korean cuisine,
I dodge the slobbering jaws and make a break

for the park gates, while Zach Hill’s drums careen
and clatter like some motorway pile up
as your voice adds a layer of the serene.

I ‘scape the hell hound’s jaws and start my hike up
the same hill where my pregnant wife has leaned
against a London Plane so she could puke up.

That’s what you get for liking R&B.

Canto XXXV

Bring on the rain, bring on the rotting leaves,
bring on the low cloud, pump out waves of mist,
bring on the bare branches, I’m keen to brave

the shitty British weather at its worst
as early evening hours diffuse to dark
so I can run alone, and feel so blessed

when there’s no other fecker in my park.

Canto XXVIII

I drop you at your class and race the sun
across the hilly grass of Brockwell Park;
the Indian Summer day is almost done.

A brilliant white Alsatian growls and barks,
its pallor beams beneath a gnarled oak tree
as the green expanse that frames it drains to murk.

The curfew doesn’t apply on days like these:
the gates gape open, football games play on
and young couples ignore the autumn leaves.

Who knows which nights signal the end of aeons—
the click of fate, the biblical cock’s crow—
the coming night descends so it can lay on

the deeper dark through which the Effra flows.

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