Ash Wednesday 2018
“I always buy The Big Issue in London because
round our way, it’s a load of Romanians.
I say, you should look after Your own first”.
The ash-smudge as fresh on her forehead
as a virgin, painted bride, sitting patiently
on the old man’s pyre before her henna
has even dried.
“Of course they’re not fucking re-housed!
They’ve all been offered stuff;
mansions, penthouses. But, no, not good
enough. Fuck ‘em”.
Away down the Ganges roll the remains
of the virgin and her formerly frail briefly husband.
And I remember our mother wept bitterly
when we were slum-cleared from Vauxhall
because she didn’t want to move
to Brixton or Clapham.
And I think of some asshole then, sour as now,
sneering: “They should demolish the slums
with the scum in them. Ungrateful bastards.”
Smug, with the ash-smudge of the faith of our fathers.
Not planning very well for their many-mansioned
afterlife. Ungrateful bastards, too?
I walked with a thousand people, In silence,
in the cold, rainy night. Past Holland Park
past many mansions here on Earth, and mews.
Past many empty investments, too.
Tonight, in silence.
And a bloke died, just now
in an underpass outside Parliament,
in the cold, rainy night.
In silence, we walked
past the overfed and unconcerned;
past the underfed and unconcerned
and all the detestable things
in this land of cheap, incendiary