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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?


  1. Excellent observation of the many facets of the riots Clare.

    The catalyst (of the riots) appears to be have been conveniently forgotten by all and sundry as anarchy temporarily took hold in some of our cities.

    Mark Duggan, I am sure to his parents he was a good son - yet it appears that he was a 'gangster', a drug pusher and indeed carried a gun. He was shot when police were attempting to arrest him - knowing that he was armed - and (they) had to make the horrible decision as to whether 'he would come out fighting.' And the rest is history.

    My heart goes out to his family - whether he was a bad lad or not - for the riots, the aftermath of his death is a heavy burden for them to carry - and one they do not deserve.

    Anna :o]

  2. The most worrying thing was the number of rioters with dark coloured skin - if they are all 'British', what has happened to the 'English' people who once lived in England?
    People flock to our shores, but then make no attempt to accept our moral codes which attracted them here in the first place.

  3. Anna - I think that most people accept that what started the initial trouble in Tottenham had little to do with what with the opportunistic bandwagon-jumping that followed. My heart goes out to the families of those young men in Birmingham mowed down in cold blood in that hit and run, and their very dignified response.

    Jinksy - There were rioters of all colours in the footage I saw - it depends on the area. And people of all colours helped with the clean up and supported each other. The two best examples of grace under pressure I saw was the father of one of the Asian boys appealing for calm and the Malaysian student - 1 month in this country - who was shown being robbed as he was 'comforted' after being attacked. He has refused to condemn anybody.

  4. Clare this is fantastic loved hearing it at Sweet Pea and wonderful to read