(Tory Minister, 1980s)
Al keeps his head down. Imagines being torched on a balcony as he’s chauffeured along Moss Side’s battered streets. Has a fear of falling, being chased by demons. Cubed and sliced, stifled in an airless flat. Not a tree in sight, not a fluttering leaf. He loosens his collar, winds down the window, evokes the summer breeze that fans around his castle. Pictures himself skinny dipping in his open pond, saving his carp from the heron’s beak, with a tear in his eye and a single shot. Thinks of his Jaguar raring to go, almost purrs, while here he sees nothing but a library where nobody reads.
A twisted bike, a burnt out car: kids in worn trainers, kicking empty cans into the gutter; filling them with pebbles so they rattle like thunder. A scene Al would more gamely observe on TV ensconced in his study, his distressed leather chair, echoes of conflict muffled behind the green baize door.
(Note: I was in the car with Alan Clark, minister, at the time so it is a true account!)
The media mogul up to his neck in astrakhan,
watches river patrols dredge murky waters
as he drives over Vauxhall Bridge,
checks his countenance in the mirror
before he arrives at Nine Elms for the photocall,
shambles around market stalls, tosses a lemon
at a cub reporter, buttonholes the MP
as his cameraman zooms in for one last shot,
picture canned, sweet as a peach, jocular handshake,
front page fixed – but headlines never stop:
Bail Out…Suicide…Pensions Missing
The page you have requested is restricted to subscribers only. Please enter your username and password and click on 'Continue'.
If you have forgotten your username and password, please enter the email address you used when you joined. Your login
details will then be emailed to the address specified.
If you are already a member and have not received your login details, please email us,
including your name and address, and we will supply you with details of how to access the archived material.
If you are not a member and would like to enjoy the growing online archive of Stand Magazine
, containing poems, articles, prose and reviews,
why not subscribe
to the website today?