Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Poets in residence?

I'm one of those lucky people who live in Hackney, London. In 2012 the Olympics will be rolling into town - right onto my doorstep, in fact! This gives me an idea: lots of places and events nowadays come with a poet-in-residence ...

Well, I am a poet (no sniggering at the back!) and I will almost be "in residence" for the grand event (assuming I fail to win the lottery between no and 2012), so I might as well be the unofficial poet-almost-but-not-quite-in-residence for the London Games.

The poems will be occasional, irregular - and possibly sarcastic. Maybe if I manage to write more than half a dozen of them over the next 7 years I'll pull them together into a webpage or chapbook on my website. But for now I'll just write them and post them here as and when I see fit. And to get the hoops rolling, here's the first of them:

The Joke

"The boot fair's shut!" No more
hungover Sunday treats to visit
Hackney's broken dog track, the grit
a base for rings of stalls and shouts
and lines of dresses, shirts and jeans -
designer labels sewn in for extra. No kids
piling through the crowds, crashing
stalls and knocking change
from pockets, hands, quick to grab
the blag, play tag to the caravans
parked beyond the gates. No more burgers
in buns dressed in onions, ketchup,
salmanella - just the roar of traffic
jostling towards the motorway that cuts
across the wasteland marshes
to better places. "You read the news?
They're thinking if the bid
goes up they'll build the stadium
here!"
We look around and laugh, walk past
two shipwrecked carpet sellers lost
without the heaving crowds. Ahead
a litterbin melts as it burns -
a flame for Hackney's pride.

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