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