Sunday, 20 May 2007

Lewisham

I place a key between my knuckles,
curse the moon for turning on my race –

‘Whitey’ I hear from the crowd at the corner shop,
like time in the night,

shocking eyes with tick tock numbers.
The moon lays a carpet over pavement,

for my feet to see the broken bottles, shit
and needles, to show me the homeless I go blind to

in light,
but tonight,

I pass the estate where a fifteen-year old
has just been dismembered, she,

from my old school, raped, cut into pieces,
opposite the hospital of my birth, where

they still send Nan for shock therapy, where
they’ll take me hours before my hearse.

The mosque stands out like a sore fruit now,
a dull building of brick and little colour,

but it isn’t the architecture that dawns, but
the five letter word ‘ISLAM’ high above,

next to the petrol station, a war at peace in
Lewisham, because somebody needs to take

money from the religion of car.
Kebab shops Mecca the hungry drunk,

a Weatherspoon’s pub turns into an arena,
a coffee shop sells branded insomnia

where guns used to be sold,
legally, illegally, who cared?

We’re in South East London,
a bruise the size of a crater,

uncared for, un-plastered,
fists of skinheads canvas the old cinema,

spouting swastikas, listening to rap –
they breed noisily in this austere bone.

The key rests in my palm now like a stolen gem.
I’m nearly home – past the burnt-down estate,

Peter Pan’s Pond and artificial
lamps that dance,

buzz on and off,
more than the pylon-choked stars –

so burn this graveyard. This cemetery of heritage
is on its deathbed – 22 years and never one more.

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