10 Jul 2015

Nottingham Howling (after the Allen Ginsberg).

Nottingham Howling.

Nottingham, have you given your all and now become nothing?

Nottingham, I have traced the footsteps of your patron saint outlaw,
Laid a 21st century poppy on a Will Scarlet grave,
Praying for an amnesty if not a full pardon.
Nottingham, the Normans never broke your spirit,
Is your spirit broken now?

Nottingham, were you the undiagnosed tumour in the Greenwood,
Causing the cancerous death of the Sherwood?
Nottingham, I forgive you.
The ghost shells of your factories are every bit as beautiful
As the hollow husks of ancient oaks to me.
But Nottingham, did you pave over our park bench market place
For the price of a hospital?
Nottingham, I cannot forgive you.
Its bleak Red Square style offends me.
The drunk and homeless have no grass on which to laze.
The cool kids on the Council steps have been expelled and moved away.
The flowers have no beds to rest their heads.
Could you find No Room at the Top?

Nottingham, your Boots Were Made for Walkin’,
And that’s just what they did.
All the way to central European tax havens.
But don’t lose any sleep over Players.
It was a good idea at the time.
Kept the employment figures up
And the population down.

Nottingham, Mansfield was not Bitter during our four year separation.
I missed you. Did you miss me?
I only came back to teach your children.
I can’t teach them anymore,
And Home Ales are never home when I knock.

Nottingham, will your eight CaffĂ© Nero’s fiddle if your ten Gregg’s burn?
Did Holland take your bicycles?
I went to the factory but found only Sainsbury specials,
And they won’t get me very far.
And where can I buy a book?
I went to the shop but found only mini-mart snack bars,
Two for one lunch time deals.
There wasn’t much to read on the packet
And anyway, the print was too small.

Nottingham, are you Lonely as a Long Distance Runner?
Meet me tonight by the Left Lion.
Wear something red.
But don’t mention Liverpool.
I did, but I think I got away with it.

Nottingham, your musicians are made to play for free.
If they Unite and form a picket line
Will any of them cross it in four-four time?
Alan-A-Dale hangs his head in shame.
Jake escapes.

Nottingham, will Lady Chatterley’s daughters never again
Take me down your red brick alleys,
Eager to explore the content of my jeans,
Slipping me into first gear?
Nottingham, when will you take off your Lace?

Nottingham, your Saturday Night and Sunday Morning sounds excite me.
After hours’ streams of acrid piss, 40% proof,
Trickle to converge where intoxicated pigeons dance the Bolero
Across static slab water features.

Nottingham, the skeletal hooves of abandoned pit ponies
Still roam the haunted mine shafts below,
Looking for a way out.

Nottingham, I am here for life.

Copyright Ian G Craig.