Young Malcolm

And every night young Malcolm prays:
“God give me dirty books and brothel creepers
Give me a revolution- make it sharp!
Give me buried urges to uncover, things that don’t make sense
Oh god though I am just a poxy ginger yid from Stamford Hill
Give me a part to play
In History’s mad glamorous parade.”

Begin at the World’s End
And work your way in
To the centre
All London imagined
From suburban spite
To Soho shame
Release the alchemy
Of unfettered desire,
Mr Guilt and Freedom
That clothes can make the moment and
The city is a wardrobe of
Images, so
Wear what thou wilt is
The whole of the Law

Begin with the premise
That all Art ends in failure
But some of us will fail
More gloriously than others
Stealing meanings
From a country
Frightened of its own reflection
Turn them inside out and show
Them naked, hollow
Dreadlock bop
Zoot Suited Hitler
Dream the mob
The Mutant King

Beneath the paving stones the beach
Beneath the skin a savage heart
Beneath the façade- what?
Another mask?
And every night Young Malcolm plays
Another part
Solemnly says
“Let other boys grow up, grow old
Not me,” he says
“Not me.”

(from Hard and Holy, (c) 2010).


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