"Did you read the news?
If they bid for it
the stadium goes here!"
We look around us, laugh.
Beneath the Eastway's Aegyptian spans
two stranded carpet sellers, smokes
to mouths, their knockdown woven scrolls
leaned along a length of white van.
"Why would the world
want to come to Hackney -
we're shut already!"
The dog track's gone, the Sunday market
with it, its grits no more a base
for rings of stalls and shouts
and lines of dresses, shirts and jeans -
designer labels sewn in for extra.
No kids pile through the crowds
to crash the trestles, knock change
from pockets, hands, quick to grab
the blag, play tag to caravans parked
beyond the gates. Burgers in buns dressed
in greased onions, watered ketchup -
the salmanella gamble - all cleansed away.
"It won't happen," I say.
"It's no place for tourists
or even normal people."
We walk on home. A litterbin melts
as it burns - a belching flame
for Hackney's nascent pride.