Canto CCLXVI

Just for the record, I’ve not seen the link
between artistry and Bohemia
where wild types never quite escape the stink

of patronage. Give me the sturdier
genius of a Stevens, may he brood
on my bookshelf if dull suburbia

becomes my spawning pool, may Wetherspoons
protect me from the five pound pints of Soho,
and I can surmise that a Bexley moon

is still the self same moon that killed Li Po.

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Canto CCLVI

Now there’s something I’d never thought I’d hear,
no, not the digitally remastered trumpets
from the jazz bar that just opened up next door—

a subtler, blander soundtrack that emits
from greener fringes, where the boxed in lives
don’t have to fret about parking permits;

where mortgages tick down from twenty five,
the schools crank up their catchment tractor beams
and working class types vote Conservative;

where mildly disaffected emo teens
pass round the cider by the rusted swings
on Labrador fertilised local greens;

my own bespoke back garden shed’s waiting
amidst my patchy lawn and flaccid rhubarb.
It is the tune I never thought I’d sing,

the flat, contented hum of the suburbs.

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.

Canto CXVI

Suburbia for Christmas, nothing like it,
a low half moon, no towers in the way.
It’s been a while since I last trod in dogshit

while gazing at the wide December sky.

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