by | March 17, 2018

sunday march 17th 1968, grosvenor square


and old don came through the coach door

like a sack of coal and sat and shook

on the front seat wiping hair and blood

off his eyes

and above, it was glass and steel

which is America thakyouverymuch

and away through our windows

friends in knots struggled with the thin blue line

of the stalwart boys of the Neapolitan ice


and then in through the door came dick

I’m alright he says

and you remember the bit behind the coach

where tired and footsore they got the boot in

thankyouverymuch said the ambassador today

so the door shuts like a school trip to hyde park

except that the man in blue on the door

said the answer would be to drop

a fuckin a-bomb on china or you lot huh

and the skin beneath don’s eyes stretches and shrinks

there’s a woman going round taking names

and saying it out to her (incredible black shoes)…

…muswell avenue n. ten student proves you’re the enemy today

If you want to know the time

Ask a getawatch

but you have to choose to be a copper don’t you

which on some days means shielding the eagle

though don’s remembering the old grizzle officer

going pale and flailing (probably good on zebra crossings)

and I suppose the wife of J 625

who tried the knuckle as well

was as worried as my mum (mosley and cable street or not)

when it came up on telly

and somewhere creeping about your head

are the films and photos of the splash of shrapnel

in the paddy fields

so as they took us past the Hilton

and we thought about fines and lost jobs

and tomorrows journalists slobber

a long line of police-punching hooligans

stretching from queens park rangers to N. Audley St.

you know we lost, don, and so we said:

please let it be that a photo of the splintered shrubs

of Grosvenor square

reaches at least one village of that country in the monsoon

lady with the gun on the poster

should we bite their heels as they tread

I love you?

First published May 1 1968.