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.

Canto CCIV

As I was about to concede defeat
on finding the right word to rhyme with bullshit,
I sat back and switched on the TV set

and caught a bit of Georgie Osborne’s budget.
The rich will get a tax break of 5p
for every pound! Come on, we all must hoof it

to Hampstead, to our glorious City
where all those dirty tents have been torn down
and raise our begging cups towards the sky

and wait for all that wealth to trickle down.


No avant gard visionary could toss
a word salad like David Cameron has,
“We want strong regulation, but less…”

the next election won’t be for three years
and yet they battle for the centre ground
with platitude mantras for lazy ears.

I switch off the set and head into town,
I note pound shops, ever present, nothing new,
though irony still slowly trickles down—

the pawnbrokers they called “Cash 22”


We all agree the monster can look pretty
as evening falls, the nearly finished Shard
amidst the light pollution of the city

as if they finally privatised the stars.


You ask me where I was when those two poets
withdrew from the T S Eliot Prize
in protest at the sponsors, causing markets

to implode simultaneously as
bankers ripped off suits and squealed like swine,
and hedge fund managers gouged out their eyes

like Oedipus did back in ancient times.
I didn’t see the Lloyds buildings crumble,
the buildings T S Eliot worked within,

instead I left the frantic urban jungle
to seek out Highgate Cemetery’s shade,
to find hundreds of pilgrims had assembled

to watch Karl Marx’s bust weep tears of blood.


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.


I voyage across South London to see
if I can source tonight’s ingredients
without using Tesco or Sainsburys.

I precure chicken portions from the quaint
free range organic butchery in Dulwich
then scored my veggies from the cockney gents

who never pronounce tees and drop each aitch
unless they’re calling Wayne Rooney a twa-t!
I now admit I almost met my match

buying ketchup from the franchise market
part owned by local Bangladeshis
and some shady Irish conglomerate.

I spanned the borough, walked by terraces,
gated communities and rough estates
which still makes me a bit of a pussy

compared to ancestors that knew the Great
Famine of 1845, or those
hunter gatherers that made it through the Late

Pleistocene epoch. At least I choose
to keep my pennies from the corporate mammoth
and get to know these gritty Southwark streets,

walking that extra mile for fair trade houmous.

Canto LXIV

The ground has opened outside HMV
to give us all a view of London’s guts,
the pipes for gas and electricity,

the arteries that fuel the storefront lights,
cross-cross over dry cement and sand
as two men in hi-vis and builder’s hats

stare into it, one listens to commands
then answers back into his radio,
“It’s looking bad, the way the damage stands

I’d say five minutes til the bastard blows”
We all hear him and yet, we shuffle on
into our retail paradise to browse

PlayStation games and Blu Rays, gaze upon
the endless discount items, aisle to aisle,
for one day all of this may well be gone

if that hole widens from metres to miles
or growing cracks from the construction site
trespass hallowed ground of shopping malls.

We must shop on and not give in to fright,
as long as change jangles within our pockets—
just look up to the early Christmas lights

and leave it to the men in yellow jackets.


The money plant’s days a goner. I could help
by finding it a new pot so the roots
could stretch into the moistened soil and gulp

until the green returns. The point is moot.
There’s no room for it to grow in this flat,
and so I let it fade away and hate

myself a little for this callous act,
or should that be inaction? All I know
is that its namesake also runs to nought,

as markets crash like waves on rotten boughs.

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