David Kessel


If you truly love your girl you will clean her toilet
‘In Memoriam’ Cesar Vallejo

A poor Slav, thinking London paved with gold,
Dies on a Whitechapel Street.
Misanthropy doesn’t ride on the top of a bus
To the edge of chaos,
But in a flash BMW.
A can of Special, a badge of honour,
Legless by midday.
Londoners play at secret policemen,
A pimp in Merc the most respected.
A city fit for models and mercernaries.
Are all suits straights, straights Gods,
Gods with spiv gadgets, gimmicks and guns?
Insane through arrogance, the sirens of blindness.
Chelsea youth fucks like a machine gun,
Doesn’t know the girl exists.
Footfall of wondrous Bengali lass.
Has to make her way into likely bondage
Shattered on all fronts.
A passing bus driver with angina,
How then discuss experimental poetry?
Falangists disaffect with body and words,
Seduce, anger and spit outside my window,
Each one part cipher, part hyena.
And Peter Lilley’s pet hyena
Who makes a noise like a throat being cut.
Toff looks at his watch, thinks he’ll never die,
Mummy’s money, Daddy’s land;
Turning the oceanic against the poor
Breaks his own heart.
Dog eat dog market; time and again
Capitalist goes to the altar
To purge his rapacious incivility.
A lovely Radio 4 conversation
About genocide!
And MI5, a distant demented aunt,
With the intelligence of a hard boil egg.
A young Woody Guthrie with his guitar
And a can of White Lightning
Staggers into oblivion.
Prepossession, rubbish in an alleyway,
Wanton spunk in a young woman’s cunt.
Vodka and chips. Poetry and lies.
The most downtrodden Englishman
Smokes Mayfair Superkings.
‘Mummy, can we take a packed lunch on the outing
To Auschwitz?’
If black is the colour of death,
White is the colour of nothingness.
If black is the colour of earth,
White is the colour of rain.
All useful hate begins with self-hate
Pathetic to spit in the street,
Hatred and TB.
Manly to listen in a backyard
To a robin singing.

[Note: this is an early draft of a poem still in progress]

David Kessel © 2010
Previously published in Jewish Socialist magazine © 2010