The only sunset we see from my flat
is reflected from the stacked windows
of tower blocks on a housing estate

in Forest Hill, about four miles or so
across the leafy swathe of Dulwich streets.
I doubt that I will ever come to know

the little lives played on the twelve square feet
of carpet in their cosy living rooms,
or whether they are taking in the sight

of the sun vanishing behind our roof.


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.


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.

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