In the beginning was the Eden,
verdure, rivulets etc.
The florid mantras that one gazed at.
The clean slate-grey accord of weather.
I found my town tanning leather on the cobblestones,
it was industry, we had community.
Our priest intoned at the labour exchange.
There were squats and reading groups.
One sat with the other Mandarins,
barring-up windows with wrought iron,
placing on the windowsill wrought iron things.
Jude had a working tongue:
Ho Chi Minh! Ho Chi Minh!
Although hoping was a golden tangerine
it was a dream
oh yes, and there was mud as well.
Everyone was an egalitarian before the flood.
Brixton was rotting from the insides out.
Choice gangrene and the Typhus bug.
Bug-eyed heroin was a bliss
that could suture and then let slip,
soul after soul
down the cambered double helix.
It was the seventies/eighties.
Jude's belief in God had stopped.
He wandered the streets of bellicose perfume.
We’re talking: spinning tomahawk. The lights were off.
Open mouths at the teats of the great sow squealing.
An underbelly soft with milk and poverty.
Galley slaves with no portholes.
Jude has no right to be here.
This in-growing toenail
nursed and toddled.
Jude has no right to be here
marching between excavation and eviction
his mind a well-stropped razor
the past! No more!
No more periwigs and bluster!
No more harlequins.
No more cottage industry and no more cots.
O it hurts, life. As it ought.
My halcyon is gone and I cannot pay the rent.
The problem is: everyone is the symptom.
I have been talking with Carlyle and Ruskin
about the sonic crunch of expansion.
I want my aristocracy
and underclass happily holding hands
in my rainbow grove.
A continent has left Jude in his white, white dress
turning, in the way one does with age, to the right.
It is rootless cosmopolitans or death
Future as: exit stage left.
The future is a question of coping
the future is the question
and Jude feels it, hotly.