Thursday, 11 August 2011

The morning after

Copy writers test fancy names

for the unrest: ‘recreational rioting’?

Newspapers plump for ‘scum’;

PR officers of politicians,

police forces, earnest agencies

spin webs to make point-scoring capital.

The uninsured Asian shopkeeper's

still shell-shocked in the shell of his shop;

the hoody has new trainers but his mum’s

too scared to ask him where he got them;

a dad catches sight of his pride and joy

on cctv and has to make a choice.

Chain store fatcats offset the damages

with more staff cuts, and won’t lose any sleep;

Police officers who held back after all

the complaints, now vilified for holding back,

not holding back the mob; some stoic Sikhs

take up cricket bats ready to defend

families above shops, nerves tuned

for smash of glass or curl of smoke;

insurers calculate the costs to spread

to everyone: the flat-dwellers who fled

with nothing but their lives; the family firm

a smouldering crime scene.

Sharing camera footage of him

and his mates and what they did,

damning, laughed over; Twitter alive

with the chirpings of disturbed birds

in their silver cages and their nests of rags;

police drafted in and dying for a tussle;

the brush and bucket brigade

blitz the streets in brittle war spirit,

and the same questions bubble up

at office water coolers, in government

departments, supermarkets, on phones

and forums and behind closed doors:

What happened? And why?

Are you alright? Were you insured?

Where can we go? How can we protect?

What should we do? Who did this? When

and where will they strike again?

Where were you last night?

© Clare Kirwan

Liverpool and Wirral riots see 50 people arrested


Clare Kirwan occasionally wears a hooded top but has never broken any windows she didn't own. She performs poetry around Merseyside and blogs as Broken Biro.

Clare says: There are so many articles on this, but I chose one local to me - I wonder how many more disturbances there have been away from city centres and not reported nationally?