Monday, 15 August 2011

Picking over the pieces

Or Carrion carrying on.

Snapshots from a riot: reading the papers for profit

13 packets of fruit gums, 21 Yorkie bars:
this was the spree and all around the loot.
Below, the street, up there the sparkling stars
among the broken glass and burning cars,
the spree too small, a week’s supply the loot,
13 packets of fruit gums, 21 Yorkie bars.

The good samaritans arrived, they helped him up
and took most tender care,
once he was walking, to open up his bag
and share the spoils, or what there was to share.

Sheneka Leigh, aged twenty-two,
was simply trying on a shoe,
footwear her besetting sin:
this is the box they threw her in.

He was peripheral,
a dot at the rim of vision,
with a stolen bottle of wine
a twelve year old before the district judge.
He’d punched some 1 in the chest 2 times.
Now see him move back to the periphery.
You watch your fucking face, his mother cries.
You watch your fucking face.

Brought up in circumstances more humble than they,
the righteous proclaim their humility.
The looters consider then pass on their way
this exercise in futility.

The fatter, the fitter, the fleeter, the flitter
all of them suitably humble
as buildings and businesses crumble,
delighted and crowing and ever more bitter.

Payback time for not being taken on
by the job no-one wanted but you.
So payback is paid
with both parties through.

CCTV is on the case. Watch the figures emerge
from the wallpaper then merge back in again.
Caught! Caught! And the commentary that chimes in:
Scum! Feral rats!
It is as well to distinguish them from the domestic sort
who are not about to flee the ship.

Zero tolerance on Ground Zero:
the proper platform for a proper hero.
The toiling masses gather in the Forum
without ever quite forming a quorum.

A boy holds up a pair of jeans appraisingly.
It goes with the hood and the mask.
It is an aesthetic matter.

Or the man running along with bottles of, is it,
Black Bush Mills?
A man of taste, I'd say,
albeit in a haste.

It is, as Empson said, not the slag hills
but the waste,
the waste remains and kills.

1 comment:

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