Canto CXLV

Remember when those knobheads on the news
reported live the nights after the riots?
When nothing happened, the term that they chose

to describe the empty, nondescript streets
was the cretinous refrain, “uneasy calm”
Each Sunday, when I put the rubbish out

against the public bins I sense the same
uneasy calm amid the shop shutters,
the roads are always quietest at this time,

the final hour of Sunday, even nutters
are shut in as the night shift employees
drive vans full of the Monday morning papers

to all the towns that orbit the City,
where some stories will hitch a lift from brains
of tabloid toting, middle class commuters,

back to their spawning grounds on morning trains.



The biggest laugh that I’ve had recently
came from a comment underneath a blog
that queried how the left wing poetry

could pierce through the reactionary fog
surrounding the riots that broke out last summer.
Why don’t you ask the meanest, hooded thug

if he can explain in his street slang murmur
whether the mainstream and the avant garde
can bring all their opposing views together

in some Hegelian, synthesised accord.
And after he’s relieved you of your iPad,
your iPhone and your Cafe Nero card

but passed on your footwear, you won’t be sad
when, with a slap, he sends you on your way
back to your cosy, private rented pad

and the highbrow hearth of the academy.
You now possess some new weapons to fire
at the tum-te-tum formal hegemony—

you felt the people’s power. You were there!

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.

Canto IV

For now, all is calm as calm can be.
The riots didn’t reach this part of town
to trash the toff shops and patisseries.

The sport shop left the lights on just to show
their stock had been packed off some other place.
The other stores just kept the shutters down.

We panic bought and locked our doors to brace
ourselves for raging mobs that didn’t come,
our paranoia brought us perfect peace

as trouble moved to Liverpool and Brum.
Opinions overloaded twitter feeds
and all the damage didn’t match the sum

we lost to tax evaders and the greed
of bankers that we bailed out of shit creek.
I did not shed a tear for the high street,

the local businesses doubled their take
when Maccy D’s and Foot Locker went down
and Currys cleared out all their plasma stocks.

But I digress, the sinking autumn sun
maintains its silence before it winks out
behind the tired lid of the horizon.

It looks that way, despite what we’ve been taught
About Copernicus and spinning spheres,
or how that fiery ball is far from quiet

and how it’s really we that disappear—
our bodies and or species but a fleck
of cosmic spunk lobbed from its numb desire.

I pity it though, for the beings I make
will be from love and then sustained through love
and love can help me loose my grip and take

one hand off the world, so that in death I give
the world for someone else to see anew.
I pity the poor sun that will outlive

the children that it never comes to know.

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