I don’t know how Bacon could have worked
within his hoarder’s hell of old paint brushes
and tins of turpentine, perhaps the stark

monochrome backgrounds of his canvases
could only exist in his painted world
and bland, corporate penthouse offices

where no artistic reveries unfurl,
despite the spot paintings and skyline views
of London streets where Foxtons minis trawl

for where the artsy types are moving to.



In the bar diagonal from us
some white men play some inoffensive jazz
for punters to mull over with a glass

of inoffensive wine, dressed up smart-cazh.
Parker’s skag fueled duende has grown cosy,
a well loved set of timeless standards. Trad.

Not that we hear it as the sax man blows it,
what with the sirens flitting between hells
that bookmark these red brick, Georgian houses—

it must be kicking off in Camberwell,
boisterous in Brixton, war in West Norwood
and tazer time in Streatham and Tulse Hill.

My daughter takes to staring at the clouds,
the definition of pre-lingual thought,
the way she stared at me when seconds old.

I don’t believe in old souls but I’ve bought
the idea that some of us come pre-packed
with some old wisdom that cannot be taught.

She’s wise although she’s yet to build a stack
of playblocks on our living room carpet.
The sirens fade, the cosy band change tac

to Miles’s Kind of Blue minus the trumpet.


The rent creeps up, it’s to be expected
what with all the young professionals
that came here in the previous decade

become young families. I behold all
the old man boozers turned to gastro-pubs,
the mortgage friendly, come to me signal

of Pizza Express, though the Kebab
shop soldiers on as guilty pleasures do.
I have no local, I eschew the clubs

for networking parents, instead I choose
to keep from fraternising with the others,
they’ll never be our friends, but we renew

for half a ton per calendar month over
what we were coughing up the month before.
My neighbourhood may be a callous lover

but I’m the mug that hangs about for more.


Long after the last mammoth in Britain
succumbed to flint head spears and crappy luck,
they say that Claudius’s elephant

sent natives and their horses fleeing back
to contemplate the scale of their defeat
under the dung caked rooves of twiggy shacks.

Though the next time the islanders caught sight
of behemoth itself was on the trudge
to London from its naval landing site,

a gift to soothe the ever faithful grudge
between Louis and Henry the somethingth.
The Tower’s bestiary records vouch

the bull enjoyed a drink and lost its life
from one too many trunkfuls of red wine.
Today the only pachyderm that’s left

to catch the punter’s eye in London town
holds a one-turret castle on its back,
a fiberglass interpretation

from tall takes of its strength, medieval talk
that passed into the city’s heraldry.
Behind it, empty rows of tower blocks

are marked for demolition, making way
for the first phase of regeneration,
the young professionals will come to play,

no way can Nelly halt this next invasion.

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