Friday, 13 July 2012

World's End gentrification

                 “Mad bitch, mad bitch,
                     we hear that thing you do -
                          laughing that turns to crying -
                        mad bitch, it’s got to stop"....

Part Seven
                            No armour left for worst collision,
                                         humiliation defiling mourning
                            with shame - I am no longer a plaintiff,
                                         I am the accused,
                                 a fool to indulge grief in solitude.
                         Tasteless timing of a joke while she was dying
                                         - neighbours from hell moved in,
                                         hammering and banging,
                                         maximizing assets,
                                         bankerosion of London’s old bohemia.
                            They had their own satanic hound,
                                        (small terrier breed, admittedly)
                                         howling and yapping alone all day.
                            Noise from below (newly rich, entrenching)
                            disdain from above (too nonchalent to care);
                                       feeling squeezed out of her home,
                                           a dying woman said:
                                    “We are not wanted here.
                                         We’ve got to move!”
                           After she died, they had a party
                           and put me up for demolition,                     
                           plaster boundary hacked away
                           exposing my naked grieving,
                           night and day keening,
                           like an abandoned dog,
                           a nuisance in the house of improvement. 
                           Tit for tat, shifting guilt,
                           every noise in flimsy rodentine terraced street
                           was falsely attributed by them to me:
                           loud music on an afternoon I was out,
                           some other woman’s screams at two a.m. 
                           when she threw her lover out
                           while the rest of us tried to sleep -

                               I, the war of anger and compassion playing out,
                                            (that foolish old man haunted me;
                                            breaking off had been unkind,
                                            but he’d not been kind to me)     
                                  beat my pillow while tormenting thoughts
                                 of hurt or being hurt flung me from side to side,
                      not knowing they could hear the creaking sofa bed
                                  from down below -

                            they ambushed me one evening 
                                       when I left the house
                            and chanted after me up the road:
                                       “Mad bitch, mad bitch,
                             it's that mad bitch who jumps on the floor 
                                       in the middle of the night”. 
                                       First you lose all you love, 
                                       then you lose your dignity.
                            What were they about, my bogeymen, 
                   gentrification thwarted by mortality and credit crunch? 
                            Familiar sensation as I walk ahead

                            that it is my fault I am pulling them in,
                            playground bullies once again;
                            but these were aspirational people
                            buying into London's property market, 
                            now finger-pointing in the street:
                            “We hear That Thing you do,
                            laughing that turns to crying.”
                           (the only allegation that was true)
                            “Mad bitch, it’s got to stop."
                           (I glimpse the dog, quiet for once, 
                            approvingly looking on) 
                             The finger jabs again to insist
                            "This is not harrassment!"
                             Futile to explain myself to enemies
                             bound to believe the worst -
                             truth is never proof against faith in lies -
                                so for appearances’sake, 
                            (there's an audience at the bus stop)
                                  “Get your facts right!”
                             I shout at their retreating backs,
                                 the agents of my abasement,
                                 two short men and a tiny dog.
                             “Call the police" advises witness,
                                 old gentleman, from his accent 
                                      maybe once a refugee,
                                 but it's too late to clear my name:
                         my home's for sale, my flight's already booked,
                                 in escape that felt like eviction.
                                    They want our garden flat.