for Mike Lesser


a gaggle of police at Western Circus adopting an aggressive, goose-like, stance

of parted legs and forward-thrusted loins

but their body mass indexes are comically dwarfed from the top deck vantage point


recycling banks, cranes, New and Used Buildings Materials warehouses

in this industrial zone, north-west, rolling

and then a Thames-wide stretch of railway lines and wires, shining, humming


billboards reflect the fashionable corporate fascisms, the bullying omnipresence

of SKY, Gordon Ramsay, talktalk etc.

competing for mass attention, on rented plinths, levelling the rest of the conscious universe


suburban shopfronts, though, are not so glamorous or opulent,

just about owned by their smallholders, seedy and/or stylish,

ethnic cafés and hairdressers, imitation Kennedy chicken joints, the Afro-Caribbean PAK’S


the sudden colours of the fruit-and-veg piled in plastic bowls—yellows, greens, reds—

outside Turkish or Pakistani or Iranian cornershops

flash like flags or rainbows in the drabness—glimpses of Rastafarian bohemias


two monolithic chimneys—smokeless—are dominant on the Church Road horizon

of council houses, disused sites and playing fields

as robed women wheel their prams meditatively, some species of dark bird, homing


African men, Somalis or Ethiopians, in assembly by a halal store

smoke, talk and smile, clenching bunches of khat, mostly elders with tight curls greying,

semi-Westernised, wearing suit jackets over light-coloured, flowing, knee-length shirts


this zone with HOMEBASE, scrapyards, and assorted construction companies,

car showrooms, garages for M.O.T. and repairs, is dull but nominally exotic:

a minicab firm called ‘Cheetah’, a café called ‘Tabriz’, a ‘Taj Mahal’


the large-scale swathe of graffiti on a red-bricked rooftop of Harlesden

is a meaningless tag, white and bubbly, just something to do for an hour

for a kid with nothing to do, a narcissistic scrawl with no message for the ages


another river of railtrack by the beautifully named Walm Lane

as the bus judders downhill, following a concrete mixer

along Walm Lane into Chichele Road… clumsily… bumpily… clownishly… as in a silent



where the younger bloods are sprucely turned out, and pavanine with it,

displaying a higher class of casualwear-cum-sportswear—too good to fight in—

grinning from earplug to earplug as they strut, unworriedly


and who cannot savour the pax of these ramshackle suburbs

with all their dilapidated ghettoes, malls, gas-towers, chapels

and simpleton signs: ‘Great Deals Available’, ‘Jesus Loves You’, ‘STOP’ etc?


plenty of cars, carparks and carwashes—where cattle markets once stood—

close to The Tavern by Dersingham Road

with its wooden emblem of horses and carriages, mirroring the past, more recent than



the bus rides the tarmac road and glides on Golders Green sun-rays

softening the tarmac road to liquorice, as a senior citizen crosses

—to elsewhere, evidently—with stick and orange recycling bag, swinging

anarchically in wind


Niall McDevitt




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    1. ‘Grinning from earplug to earplug’

      Tres bien.

      Comment by dave tomlin on 22 June, 2012 at 1:47 pm

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