5 January 2008


I wrote this poem back in July after hearing news reports of the senseless street killing of a British Muslim youth called Abukar Mahamud (aged 16). The poem was formenting in my email files till I rediscovered it just today. I have always had mixed feelings about London - perhaps about all cities. They can be so vibrant and yet so threatening. Historically, it was never the way that human beings were meant to live - in tarmac and concrete mazes huddled together, competing for money and streetcred.

London 2007

Like saints in stained glass windows
Pin-striped dealers
Transmit laser beams of scorn
As the trundling tube rattles on to
Ickenham and beyond

On Wardour Street
A mischievous gust of wind
Lifts a call girl’s organdie dress
Momentarily revealing
Suspended stocking tops
As she pays her cab fare
And she doesn’t care
For change.

Breathless in the suburbs
An anonymous teenager
Called Abukar
Runs from the bandits in bandanas
Collapsing like a fugitive
In a puddle of Cabernet Shiraz coloured blood.
He was someone’s son.

A radio helicopter
Whirs overhead
Though Abukar is dead
They scan growling traffic
Clogging the city’s arteries
And the latest pile-up
On The M25…
This is Dick Whittington
For Five Live.

In Speaker’s Corner nobody’s speaking
In Poet’s Corner nobody’s writing
An old Amen Corner number
Drifts from a ghostly white van
That turns the corner into
Hanbury Street at Spitalfields
“Bend me, shape me, anyway you want me

Long as you love me, it's all right…”

No poets composing lines upon Westminster Bridge
Just a doner kebab in a Styrofoam tray
And a bottle of Bud from the fridge.
With beggars and blaggers and baseball-capped bullies
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The leaden promise of nimbus clouds
Gathering in the thickening air…


  1. YP, once again I have to say that is fantastic. You have you the ability to pull the words together so that they suggest so much more than appears on the page. So full of imagery.

    More please.

  2. Just in case you fancy a tag, come visit.

  3. You really are rather good at this poetry lark.

  4. Came to tell you I've eventually done my homework, but blown away by the poem.
    Happy New year, btw.


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