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Poor Doors
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
bedroom tax
Disrupt and Upset

Martin Hayes

where cranes now stand


where we once played round robin 5-a-side football competitions

that were our world cups

pulling on Argentina or Holland tops

and shorts that just about kept in our balls

where we once spent countless hours trying to impress groups of girls

with our clothes haircuts trainers smiles

the position in our pack of boys

working our way up

so that we actually got to kiss our first girlfriends

in an alcove while pretending to play a game of chess

where we drunk our first can of beer

smoked our first cigarette

tied our first ribbon after running our hands through a girls' hair

where we once picked up books

and spoke about the great things we were going to achieve

cranes now stand

cranes who've had their feet bolted into our earth

who will lift everything needed

to make another block of luxury flats

that spread out far and wide

or at least until the horizon

cranes now stand

gleaming under the sun

their lights threading the night sky

like the red eyes of a sky monster

readying this block of flats on our land

for people to come

people who haven't ever lifted a finger

to make one single thing

with their hands

who board jets to fly halfway around the globe

to sit on beaches sipping at drinks

whenever life gets too much for them

this land

where our old youth club used to stand

where knowledge was accumulated instead of bought

where we felt our first kisses turn our insides into molten heat butterflying our guts

where we learnt how to grow up

placed our feet on that road towards becoming men and women

cranes now stand

building a complex that will hang signs around its perimeter walls

Martin Hayes was born in Paddington, London, in 1966 and has lived in the Edgware Rd/Marylebone area all of his life. He attended Quintin Kynaston Comprehensive School in Swiss Cottage but left at the age of 15 to go out and work as circumstances didn’t allow him to continue his education. He has worked in the London courier industry since he was 16 - first as a leaflet distributor and then as an accounts clerk, a telephonist, a cycle courier, a controller’s assistant, a controller and a control room manager. Poetry collections: Letting Loose The Hounds (Redbeck Press, 2007), When We Were Almost Like Men (Smokestack Books, 2015), The Things Our Hands Once Stood For (Culture Matters, 2018), Roar! (Smokestack, 2018), Ox (Knives Forks & Spoons Press, 2021) and Underneath (Smokestack, 2021). 

"Private Property - No Loitering!"



where the young

will not be welcome

have to stand around on street corners outside kebab shops in stairwells steal

night hours here and there

in flats where parents have had to go off to work

the young

who soon won't have any youth clubs left anymore

to play football in

to learn how to tie ribbons in a girl’s hair in

use the cover of a game of chess to learn how to kiss in

place their feet on that road

where cranes now stand

blocking their way forwards

bedroom tax
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
Disrupt and Upset

Militant Thistles

prickling the politics of "permanent austerity"

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