Municipal grave. Writer. He stirs.
This town should be familiar to him.
Yes, he is the fitting guide, no doubt,
For he knew the manner of its sin.
Through the gravel he comes, which is cold
And wet - to match his quiet miser’s voice.
His spectacles are cracked; he looks old.
Yet he could have left, this was his choice.
“First is Limbo,” says the poet, wryly,
Dusting off his charcoal suit and hair.
Adjusting a hearing aid, dryly,
And sliding those glasses up that nose,
He points out his humble abode,
Mumbling to not mind the graffiti.
“It was just as shit before,” we’re told.
“Come. In days gone by I walked this road.”
Wrapping his scarf a little nearer,
The poet points out terraced housing.
“Here, things may get a little queerer.”
He finds the Northern Lust surprising:
Scattered to and fro, used condoms blow.
Blocking grids, caught in roadside hedges,
Silver skins are pecked at by a crow;
The librarian wrinkles his nose.
Not far further, a golden archway.
Great worms have come to fill their three mouths
At this Drive-Thru altar, day by day.
The poet has seen them not eating mud,
But pumping Gluttony with meal deals.
“There once were cafés; old fashioned tea
Is no longer the flavour, one feels.
Kick aside that ghastly coloured toad…”
Unconcerned, the writer leads us on
To a swollen, black gutter current.
A slim smartphone washes by, glinting.
Puzzlement comes to his eye, and bent
double, the old man lets out a sigh.
Drowning in this Greed, a sportswear suit
Begs our guide, in vain, to no reply.
“I’m repressed, and all I did was loot!”
The author crosses this urban Styx.
“It’s not your mum and dad, it’s this world
That fucks you up! I had it all wrong.”
As he sails across, a brick is hurled.
Violent, against the wind, it flies
And strikes in shards - some old dear drowns, curled
In the river, cowers from Anger.
Jobless civil servants cast the stone.
“This place is changed. Even here,” he wails.
The poet’s sheltered home is victim,
Just as maimed as any other town.
“The library! Redemption within!
University is surely pure!”
The roster tells him Heresy though.
Media and ICT appall
The poet; shock him, drag even him low.
Fleeing his old haunt, a pub TV
Gives license to his further grieving;
Afghan, Libyan, British boys lie dead.
A commentary on Violence sieving
The lives into palpable factoids.
“What is the Al Qaeda?” he croaks.
His stony eyes are roused, stirringly,
And the lack of answers means he chokes.
Composure gone, he tumbles, bat-like
Down the cliffs of flat Humberside streets.
A tabloid board warns him not to phone
For fear of Fraud - hacked phones, and tweets
That serve his heart for public feasting
In ways his poems never could do.
A raw, cold feast on morning broadsheets.
The small print warns: bankers scam you, too!
Municipal grave. Writer. He rests.
His town couldn’t be a home for him.
Now, he would be glad to die, no doubt,
If he knew the manner of its sin.
Through the gravel he sleeps, which is cold
And wet - to match his discontented voice.
His universe is cracked; it looks old.
He’d have it left: but had no choice.
© Tom Cook, 2011.