How the news follows me. Decapitations on the Net: dare I watch? Every perv is
sure to. S & M boys in Blackburn or fisting PCs project it onto large screens.
I heard they push them over and then it takes maybe a minute we've surely
all been in Turkey and seen a flock led by a shepherd in the cool of morning
well I followed and found a young boy cutting throats as the animals waited.
I'm not saying all Muslims but it makes you think no?

History of my lot arriving in Tilbury. British seaports then were black and sparkle.
A large smudge of a city ok for Greeks but proud people so not too happy caretaking in a
Highgate Dame school but maybe foreigners need this kicking I mean the English arrived
and had to fight and no one can expect to move and not have to worry when worry is the one
constant now also rage and tail-gaters and certainty when all the theories meet have you been
under the M4 now the A34 has been redone - damn right it's better. Let's do it. Imperatives:

I remember that darkness the night ride across Exmoor the mopeds screaming
late summer maybe September my favourite time and soon to Oxford
where nothing happened and I lived in an draw got thinner bought fags
smoked to think as my room was cold with a curtain across the bed
and a fan heater which couldn't be left on and drained the heat when off
and no one came no one. I mean it wasn't my life. It didn't feel like it.

I'd spend afternoons dreaming of being someone else - the applause,
the warm comfort. Sitting in the library or gazing at rooftops. Then the
dead blue Autumn evenings. Inside a shell another shell tissue, some
blood surely, something that could be remembered. I could never
study and be human. Intellectual activity is cruel - it atomizes,
laughs at the physical, has done nothing.

I'd get up with deadened legs. Stagger to the door, oh the slip of
quad steps and the promise of candles in mullioned rooms. I'd
wear a red dressing gown and simper without fear of fists. Well
it didn't happen. Forgotten not begotten I'm back boys I live in the
chimney and come out for formal dinners to help in Hall maybe
celebrate and roister toaster carry the bags anything really.  


I bourgeois recidivist climbing up steadily pouring battery acid into
swimming pools smiling on the ring road bypass new class size
targets so when cells divide and the first warm weather brings
bluebells we monitor it as people deserve no less.

This disgraceful party which dares to lose gives me the surge of
winning led by priests with palm leaves so I can matter as spoken
about but sad the window ledges cluttered with shampoo bottles or
even rubber ducks and tooth mugs rattling away as I give my
thoughts to all those inside asleep while I count them.

I owe everything to this structure which is buried and excavated
every five years and you forget but I don't where I went to school
and where my offspring shall but I take any way from this comfort in
being undefined the defining others.

Can you doubt that when this place ruled the world I would have
been a progressive touring the buildings where those in need of me
were housed neither awake nor asleep by waiting in hunger and
hope as I mounted the stairs and alas brought no food just a sermon
that sounded over the foul courtyards and slime gullies and which still
echoes now on this day when I your servant sit eager and ready for
the call.

If one day we meet on a train stuck in sidings and watch the hares
basking on a cinder path I will cough and feel the sweat drop from
my armpits then hear a bell for the up-track as the afternoon
stretches onto the middle of this country I visit in transit never
noticing how green the rail-side weeds grow unchecked.


Office block with reflective windows showing
clouds like smudges on sunglasses and a jet
plane crossing from frame to frame leaving
the building by a sign attached to a lamppost

Soundsystem not on shoulder but at the waist
swelling as now word recognition and a first
sight of his face puts this one event behind
our street clears once a day only and unseen

Passersby can tell time from a play of light in
these mirrors which stand to stay as long as
the next change which is there before the last
one says it is going and no one notices

Just before the final car enters the ravine
is still as a sacrificed body packed in ice
then a noise that is dead night dragged off
to collapse like a tent hit by an avalanche


Many have attempted to cast picaresque spells in prose and verse
over these watchful eyes but all meet with scant success as alas is
the case here our writer seems besotted with types who could sell
AA membership in Cornmarket or even seafood pub-to-pub but have
I mentioned my one generation back grandparents who escaped in
1939 of course I'm English now but still retain a frankly bogus air of
exoticism and sneer at the insularity "seen" all around me why can't
we live in the open and take coffee under floodlit Baroque
masterpieces with fountains as angels spouting water but instead I
fear for my safety in smash and grabs with education as the answer
and me the giver while really I hate as hate this bilge of broadsheet
asphyxia the only answer is to kill my wife's sister and who's the
criminal now?

Conversely I could pretend to accept this as showing an unwritten
history so close to mine but just to one side when I walk through
the city and observe which only a poet can its occupants stacked up
like dirty sand on a beach we visited each summer where my shins
were whipped by bits blown in the wind as my father ran with me
down to the sea but no this old dog can't stop its growl and if
anyone wants to get lyrical I'll kick out in a review or just return
their manuscript with a slip placed under the paperclip reading "No,
I think not".

Desmond Blumfit poet and tutor whose recent collection
"Cut in the half-light" won the 1999 Colgate prize

for the bien pensant who remake the world each time they read and
imagine themselves better better with each simpering laugh now
we're all equal but sometimes I see on the street's unlit side a man
in a sweatshirt with his hood up running at me so I pull the curtains
tight shut before he looks up and knows my fear.

The problem with liberals is they aren't but instead
colonisers who mix their good fortune and feeling of
omnipotence to give a principle for universal happiness
ruthlessly applied yet somehow never tiring of themselves
though the rest would just as soon see them dropped off a
pier or killed in a motel fire or anyhow silenced.

This isn't authority and even to speak is too much.
To say less and hear less and go out never not once.

        Paul Sutton 2004