Alistair Noon

from “station / street”

5.  Tobacco Industry

A rustle in the bushes

as a patrol van passes:

a Vietnamese woman

hurries through a mass burial

of untaxed imports,

her expiry-dated permit.


Baseball-capped, spotty and hooded-topped,

you, with your Pitbull vanguard and Alsatian at the rear,

walk where Stalin’s artillery growled, and fear

sank its teeth into the legs of the shelled,

refugees in their own cellars,

and for seven days all exercise stopped.


Down where they founded the city

in the years of chivalry and pillage,

the weapon popes banned as the Devil’s –

for its seventy-kilo recoil –

competes with the air pistol and rifle

in a local Moloch’s shop window:

quality has always sold.

11. On an East Berlin Street

Where the Roads Department pulled down signs

to put up the new, you pad your way, not

quite steadily, thin-jacketed in Spring.

Cousins once removed ask what fibres you wove,

knots you tied and threads you broke,

want a list of all your complicities.