Marx In The Park
He bumps into a bench, jumble of books, papers
under his arms, sits beard on belly, stares at a tree,
found himself in Starbucks an hour ago looking across
to a golden M, people dressed oddly, shouting at things
held to their ears, giving strange money to bargirls,
bitte, wievel kostet, prosze, familiar accents, looks
at a book, frowns, shakes his head, it’s the translation,
No, he didn’t say that, picks up a news-paper, stares
in disbelief at page three, on four a picture of Bush
on his first visit to Asia and somewhere before
Gazza ‘Aza Dazzler two lines that say India
gets a McDonalds - did he not say the state is but
a committee for managing the affairs of the bourgeoisie?
Thinks back to his coffee, gazing out the window,
vehicles flashing past posters my ipod my music
my life smiles, lips shape the words technological
determinism, looks up, pink clad ‘chavs’ all around him,
aggressive blind eyes, tight pony tails, point at him,
loser, they chant, loser, fuckin’ loser.
Headscarf knot high on her forehead, senna’d hair,
shoulder pads, like a war poster; she becomes
Aunt Lil - smiling down, hand cupping my chin -
holding Sid’s arm, evening drink in the Plough,
slabbed eels twitching outside, pillbox hat for
The Harold on Sunday, turban in the tractor
factory making shells, painted line down
the calf for the Rex.
See her again, red tights, trilby, Camden-booted;
I’m Uncle Albert, double-breasted, roll ups,
knees ups, nudge and a wink to Charlie,
pencil ‘tash, flash of a gold tooth smile;
she walks away, looks back, frowns,
leaving a raggedy-arsed boy.
Sun on pantiles, boughed leaves against a sash,
- a mother’s hair touching an infant’s face, a cupola,
an offered breast, eaves, the brim of a merry widow hat,
radiant stucco, grinning dentrils, full-busom’d caryatide,
the long skirt’s folds for a child to wrap his face in,
jasmine hedge cushioning a boy’s boundaries.
Raised eyebrow of a high gable, railings, tall, upright,
military, ‘old yer back up, chequer pattern flint and
stone, tough, hard, don’t let ‘em score, son,
dive at their feet, the roof, pitched, steep, thick
brows frowning down, a boy too scared to move,
the house inside him.
Tired of swimming through porridge with the sixth form
I walk the lunch break through terraced streets, enjoying
leafed capitals, Doric columns; a child sprouts in front
of me, still, unmovable, hard eyes quietly demanding,
gripping a square of card we hav no muny and no
napies for little gerl and…
I rest on a garden wall, beckon him to sit, he stands
in front of me as I rewrite his plea in my notebook
demonstrate vowel sounds, consonants, pauses,
differentiate the phonetic, tear out the page, hand
it to him.
He nods slowly not taking his eyes from mine,
shows me the card again, crushed notepaper
tumbling in the gutter.
Ken Champion © 2011