Teenage Riot, Daydream Nation after the London Riots
Riot? Who would do that? Out of bricks? Dreams would do that, out of bricks, out of skies they have no bricks, so there are no skies, acts of dreams, from what I dreamt to what they sd, for they have no force, their electrics dead, floats of milk parked (on their side) at dusk, blue glass, tin can plumbed in white noise, where should be force, a jack & a plug, kiss me in shadow written on their fists. You’re cut she sd, your electrics out, cut, cut out. But no, there is no force like the first time’s frost, you touch this echo & this loop, when you fell the tannoy spoke FIRE IN SHOPFRONT IN TOTTENHAM HALE ( wind — glass ) no bricks, no riots but acts, acts of nights, skies made gold, flecked with bricks, four acts, each act of words, electrics dead, out, out — no dream is here, no dream is there. Sez who? These are all my skies, we’ll make red dreams and recognise it with my words, train our dreams in latticed fields, catch the skies
as over graves the taxis shone, a rank of trees in red dreams now made of bricks (I found, asleep, all those I loved) (don’t you see?), against the dead their bodies quick, someone spoke in acts — acts — in mid-dreams they had no bricks, we would give them bricks, for their dead was wood the dead would move, the type had set our fingers black, red light on rain where wood was nailed, kiss me in shadow was all I heard.
That night the fields where riots passed, the kids, in hoods, burned their graves, two voices there — “skies”, she sd; he sd : “acts” — but they have no force, their electrics dead, their floats of milks parked (on their side) at dusk, blue glass, tin can plumbed in white noise, red light in rain where the wood was nailed, kiss me in shadow on their fists, the street has moved, on each block a car torched & tarred. And I sat there, no one asked, or asked you. You were not there.
FIRE IN SHOPFRONT IN TOTTENHAM HALE ( wind — glass ) they took her & hit her in the crotch, even as the camera turned, I heard a shout “It’s a girl, it’s a fuckin girl,” I knew it was her, that (not only) was it love but I was IN love, even as they hit her there, kicked her in brown & blue glass, it was her I loved — tongue, hands, feet, eyes, ears, heart — each face that watched reflected off each face that watched just for the fun of it. It came to pass. Six of them came to six hot riots (Riots? Who will? kiss me in shadow written on their fists), bent on knees they hit as others rise, rise like zombies cast in their own wet dream, rise & speak : words, words, we are dreams, riots, bricks, words.
In these acts there are no skies, there are only bricks.
Chris McCabe was born in Liverpool in 1977. His three previous poetry collections are The Hutton Inquiry, Zeppelins and THE RESTRUCTURE. He has recorded a CD with The Poetry Archive and was shortlisted for the 2014 Ted Hughes Award. His creative non-fiction book In the Catacombs: A Summer Among the Dead Poets of West Norwood Cemetery was published in 2014. His work has been described by The Guardian as ‘an impressively inventive survey of English in the early 21st century.’ He works as the Poetry Librarian at the Poetry Library and teaches for the Poetry School. This poem is from Speculatrix (Penned in the Margins, 2015) available from: http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2014/10/speculatrix/