From Spring Equinox to Summer Solstice this year, I spent a significant amount of time exploring the small patch of the Square Mile encompassing Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill and Cheapside. Walking, taking photos, thinking and experiencing this, one of the most ancient and earliest settled parts of London. The site of much archaeology, mythology, conjecture and rumour. And finance.
I wrote thirteen poems incorporating my experiences of this complex place, many of them weaving personal experience of being a woman and a mother, with this area of the City of London. The poems became a map, Amniotic City, thanks to the artistic talent and skill of my best friend, and is now the first collection of poems I have self-published.
I took some of the maps up to Occupy St Paul’s this week, feeling a surge of energy there, in that space I have haunted, which gave me hope that it is possible to change this frightening and untenable situation that we, the 99% find ourselves in.
People are busy, determined, friendly and ready to talk. The site is well organised, with a superb Information tent and Tent City University with a full timetable of workshops and talks going on. More support and ‘new blood’ is needed to go and occupy as the current occupiers get worn out and lives cannot be put on hold forever.
Do not believe what you read: the tents ARE occupied (of course) and these are people who believe so fervently and strongly about what thay are doing, that they have managed to put their normal everyday commitments to one side for a time.
Go and experience it for yourself if you can. I wish I could say that I would go up there and spend some time being an occupier but as a single parent of a four year old that option is not possible.
That this occupation is taking place on one of the most ancient, important and contested sites of power in London does not surprise me.
It’s poetry in motion.
Both my local stations will have their ticket offices closed..at least one, the closest, where people have been mugged….and what about help for the elderly, disabled, people with children in buggies where there is no lift or ramp, only stairs? People with enquiries regarding train journeys? They are only partially manned now, during the day, making them at best eerie places to be alighting from a train at night…at worst dangerous…
And, let’s not forget how expensive and complicated that travel has become (and rail fares set to rise significantly again) since the last lot privatised it and the Labour government failed to use their mandate to re-nationalise…
Looking cool with filters
Pushing a butcher’s bike
Stuffed with subwhoofers
The protest posse posing for the long lens of the press pack
Do they know that demos are meant to fizzle like a sparkler
And then it’s time to go home
Light the touch paper of democracy
A process hard won
If it looks like it’s gone out don’t go back-
It could explode onto the front page,
And riot rozzers are all the rage in this
Day and age
Legal Observer in orange gives me a bust card
“In case you get arrested”
With a four year old son
I know what a bust card is
From way back when
But I never got caught up in any bother then.
As I leave Parliament Square lines of hi-viz cops
Become backdrops for tourists pics- memo of a demo
I clock the riot gear in the vans as I walk back across Westminster bridge
This poem was written in response to attending the strike rally at Westminster, a demonstration against proposed changes to public sector pensions and retirement age.
It was performed on the same evening of the strike.
Entered into One Shot Wednesday at the fantastic One Stop Poetry site.
We stretch for eternity
On hind legs made of jelly
Our brains digested in the belly
Of a gold and rotting beast
A definition of riches
A plate of scalding bones
Sucked juices for fresh bitches
We sing in dulcet tones
This is the end and we don’t care
This is the end of truth and beauty
This is the end of love and language
Shut up- x factor is on