Leon Brown


They glide and gleam
Those immaculates,
From smooth-faced youths in the Fens,
Suburban villas in Guildford,
The odd back- to- back in Barnsley,
Each leading inexorably
Toward a citadel of spires –
Not Jude and Sue’s howling hovel.

Happy and self-confident, worthy, noble,
Bereft of doubt; always the first
To clamp spoonfuls of sugar
Between the jaws of the poor.

Aesthetic pace-setters one and all;
Or bowl-fringed geeks buried under
Algorhythmic angst in IKEA-
Kitted bedrooms: while downstairs
Mater and pater scribble another
Cheque for the Bursar’s office.

Under towers of honeyed stone:
Volcanic sunsets burnish punts.
Rapunzel in butterfly dress
Dives seamlessly from the parapet
Into the Isis or Cam as you sip
Champagne from a glass slipper.
Caution, catercapped children:
The dreams of the few only nurse
The nightmares of the many.

So, instead, I ask you…

To inhale fetid airs of Old Father Thames.
Twin odours of primrose and privilege
Pierce septums in the gloom; sharp, stinging
Sensations, once imbibed from white lines
On coffee tables - now from the eternal
Tang in Christminster fields. Let cynics
And sceptics sneer out of lean jaws.
See them peer through railings
Bicycle battalions are chained to.
They grip the spokes then howl
As the wheels begin to rip.

Who really believes the myth? Everyone
It seems: from relatives to friends;
Drones at the hive of fatal dreams
Where the honey is harvested
Through exclusive memes.

The pollen blows through the land entire
Sticking to the minds of great and good:
Company chairmen, lawyers, reporters,
Stock-brokers, churchmen, ministers
All gabbling about the share price;
For here is where places in the sun
Are to be had for the taking.

I say, I say, I say!
The Ultras are holidaying in Asphodel this year –
Where has everyone else gone?
Bagsied last minute deals with Easy Jet
To Helmand, Harare, Camp X-Ray.
Or so I am told: I read it in the Mail.

Here where satellite dishes garnish
Chocolate houses in the sun,
Fenced by big cars, big dogs, big overdrafts,
The natural place for nature’s Bs and Cs,
Beneath them: crushed under cheap Reeboks –
Those sadly shrugged at, now reinventing
Themselves as Hilfger gadflies.

We who strike envy’s match against
Cellulite thighs, flames searing self-esteem.
In the lonely hour of dawn awaken
Howling for a future of livid colour - not
Colour schemes. We, the hungry,
Who strive, yet never make our mark
Are moving targets whose talent has no
Patron, though is patronised –
Our eyes have blowtorched the sacred cow.

Gush and resign! Let the hares win
On the boat-race to oblivion.
Succumb to the Quadranglehold,
Turn a blind eye, slip into placebo-obedience,
And your prize will be engraved with the words:
Questions, my friend, are mercifully rare
When the multitude has ceased to care.

Leon Brown © 2010