City Riot*

“‘We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything.'”
~Lord of the Flies

There’s a siren of alarm on the high street: a river
island and a monsoon call,
a blur of boys and girls come out to play, their writing’s
on the wall.

You see it’s enough to make you believe what they say
about having it your own way,
rags on mannequins behind smashed glass are snatched
or thrown away.

But then down on the Estate the bins are full of posh
princesses beckoning wealth and sleaze;
and the policemen in the cities are down upon their knees;

a petrol bomb is hurled, someone goes ‘England’s shite!’
and I’m like ‘Holy
fuck, just look, they’ll be over here tonight.’

8 August 2011

*This is a parody/pale imitation of a fabulous poem by Peter Robinson called Otterspool Prom. I’ve kept some of the words and phrases of Robinson’s poem like “England’s shite!” and “I’m like.” I really like his language and the contrast between the speaker’s and his student’s perspective, but I wondered how it would go if written a few years later in a very different location – another England. You can read Peter Robinson’s poem and Carol Rumens’s excellent commentary here