The end of British riots

For my brother Tariq


grayscale photo of road closed on roadway with gray fence gate in front of city

Photo by Pixabay on

For you he comes when you least expect him,

in the milkshake pink of Birmingham dusk day blows out

the city is dark and a car tyre screeches to a halt and he is there in sepia.


It has been a lifetime my brother since you carried grain on weary shoulders,

that was the weight you felt when he sat on your shoulders long ago.

This grain is for Syria and all that makes sense is weight.


Oh Tariq, you were the last man to find England before Brexit was a thing.

I know what England was when you told us to all go home

everyone left but you, your home is a tyre-print maze.


It has been a lifetime my brother since I told you I loved you as a human.

Last night two kids ate chicken wings and remembered the riots

they called you the man who stood up and said summat.


Sometimes a poem stops being a poem the minute you undress it in detail,

like paramedics pouring water on blood that flows pink to the gutter,

we have to think of the purity of water, of roses cut too soon.


Oh Tariq, you were the last man to give us back England as you took the thorns,

I hope you find what the stag did in that Montreal woodland I saw

it stopped at the edge of the city holding moon in its antlers.



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