Simon Jenner

6 Somerhill Avenue

I’m voting in the imagined shadow

of my demolished house. Straight up

opposite this calico-faced school swaying

next to the developer’s scoop.

I smile my Janus of exile to these candidates

bright in their outdoor faces.

They’re suspect, next to repel

this brownfields landslide of themselves.

Just the doss-house held off millions.

Now the distinguished dove-grey blot

mirrors on the greedy glass spirals who

suck the shaven close salaries of London

to the square root of the old, lived-in spaces.

Too tight to wheeze my asthmatic child’s dust in –

a boy’s stride across the mahogany Thirties

landing would take in three pine lives, fresh sick

with new paint; ghosts of a future haunted

by being for ever cornered.

Here, I can navigate from the garish canopy.

Maybe I voted for time and them, complicit

to quell the tuxedo dinners; a shell of privilege

my years here occupied in a rasp

of bookish dust in the throat.

But I’ve elected the pre-fab vision,

my rosette-dismantled self packed with

these returning officers, who breathe

brickdust, swear in those who tear up

quiet quarters, and look out to a sky-hard

desert studded with giant noon-yellow locusts,

no history lesson to counter their coming

no shade to darken me with language.

Simon Jenner © 2008