Days of Mourning

A beloved children’s character is ripped
from picture book and movie adaptation
and press-ganged into Dante-substitute duties
only there’s none of that purgatory crap here
and a lad from the Met with a big stick
is waiting to use it if any bastard mentions hell.

So here we are, Paddington old chum:
zero ground at Pomp and Solemnity Plaza
where the CCTV cameras dart their heads
like cobras at anyone not virtue-signalling
hard enough. I think we’re in Bootlickers’ Alley
where the dead from the waist up

lost their dignity at about the same time
as their sense of perspective. A queue
like the folds of an intestine
turns London into a zombie flick
where the zombies are too Spoons-fed
to go lumbering after the good red meat

of independent thought. Could any hell
be more English now or more unreal?
Floral tributes are laid down by peasant,
patriot and poet laureate, their perfume cloying.
Days-old marmalade sandwiches
rot in the heat. The food banks are closed.

Neil Fulwood has published three collections with Shoestring Press, ‘No Avoiding It’, ‘Can’t Take Me Anywhere’ and ‘Service Cancelled’. A collection of political satires, ‘Mad Parade’ has just been published by Smokestack Books. Neil lives and works in Nottingham. Read other articles by Neil.