‘the dark heart of Britain, the place where democracy goes to die, immensely powerful, equally unaccountable’ George Monbiot
The City shows you England’s heart, they claim,
and so I take a walk. First, Shiteburn Lane,
only to find a trumped-up mayor and his crew
trading their votes for gold; I thought I knew,
but still I gag at the perpetual stink
of this inheritance: the Freemen, dick to dick
who kick and thrust into the cunt of history,
don’t care I’m there, or even notice me.
Onward to Glasshouse Yard: behind these walls,
Aldermen throw stones in ceremonials
of bank and hustle, strut the victor’s dance,
bleed blue between bright glints of splintered glass,
drink to the bitch democracy and laugh.
Ye olde liveries pant in the dark
in Cock Lane, where the trusty men of state
would gather, gossip and ejaculate
in days of yore. Listen: their long-lost whores
scream torrents for the broken and the poor
and beg for change that never comes. Hope creeps
back into bed, hangs loose a while, then sleeps.
In Houndsditch, dead dogs howl for love, and piss
into the void while at the gates of this
debacle, lackey dragons snort and shit.
I head on home. Try not to think of it.
Jacqueline Saphra’s The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye, 2011) was nominated for The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. A book of illustrated prose poems, If I Lay on my Back I saw Nothing but Naked Women (The Emma Press 2014) won Best Collaborative Work at the Saboteur Awards 2015. All My Mad Mothers will be out from Nine Arches Press in May 2017. She teaches at The Poetry School. www.saphra.net