And the Brass Band Stopped Playing
For us, there were times of fine weather between
the walled towns. But now it rains inside our trains.
Once, the days and nights tapped out hot rhythms.
We danced mambas – drenched in salted sweat.
We dipped our dreams with blistered fingers –
raised life’s hopes to the turncoat wind.
In teatime kitchens, we let chips drown in gravy.
Today, nothing of comfort’s good comes calling.
Our streets have been forensically forsaken
for the small price of power’s broken bicycle.
Hills are now for wandering histories. No miners.
No steel. We live a slag-heap northern slander.
These days, the ‘us’ has become hopeless,
hapless and ice cold homespun.
Yes. We live in the walled towns
where the red flag frays flaccid.
Where our brass bands
have stopped carousing.
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