Parade’s End: Four Short Poems about Gentrification

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1.

… Brighton has been crying out
for an upmarket fried chicken restaurant …

… Imagine my horror
upon discovering that the signature scotch eggs
were already off the menu …

… The minimalist yet quirkily designed
warm wooden interior
felt like a particularly luxuriant chicken coop …

Parades end
Beneath the biscotti
And owl figurines
Lies a reek of commands on horseback
Beckoning a worthier class
But these are democratic burgers!
Everyone with a twelver in their pocket
Can have one
With complimentary chopping board
Chips served from a baked bean tin
And artificial newspapers
For that authentic newsprint feel

2.
Brighton! The city so cool you can’t afford to live here!
Stay true to your roots
With a glitterball shaped like a VW beetle
Town planners rub their hands
At the influx of a better class of graffiti

T-shirts with the wrong band on the front
Coffee passed through the gut of a thresher shark
The latest freesheet
Runs down the top ten beards
The Spirit of Enterprise
Was a cruise ship, you know

It’s funny you should mention it
But the Siberian Rhubarb Saison
Is just £6.21 a pint
Which exactly corresponds to
The Bartender’s minimum wage
Cashback, sir?

3.
Check shirts become the green screen
Fixed wheel inner tube
Looped in double windsor
Bowling footwear / That never graced the alley
Espresso cider / Minty fresh stout
Speakeasy jamjar / reclaimed footwear
Upcycled cutlery ornaments
Artisan / ersatz
Pulled pork / small batch
Deep fried bagels
Croissant with a duck in
Craft beer / pop up
Ping-pong in the workplace
Macchiato / babychino
State sanctioned street art
Gin palace / street food
Taxidermy warehouse
Wool surrounding lap-posts
Gelato on the bowling green
Cakes made out of icing
Taxes for the weak!

4.
Brutality to pianos is the norm
And in the latest reinvention of your old local
Bands who have perfected their quirky dance
But can’t quite figure out soundchecks
Dance on a stage that’s a 1:50 scale model
Of John Peel’s lower jaw
It’s a cat eat cat café world out there
An ersatz revolution
For people who use the word ersatz

A winged horse shrieks and tosses its head in shackles on a grass banked roundabout

Every night, the same catering supply store is in your dream like a symbol for something you no longer recognise

Somewhere, a man unloads a thousand giant beetles, individually boxed, from the back of a van

Weekly, writers and artists box their yearbooks and glance askance at landlords keen to ride the bohemian tide, considering Portslade.

 


This is something I’ve been trying to get right for what seems like months. We all like fancy beer and cupcakes. We can’t afford the rent.

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