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Up on the Roof (Strangeways)

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By all accounts
It was little more than a protest.

By all accounts
It was little more than a protest
But all I saw was
The slates been
Tossed off the roof.

All I could hear was
Them crashing
Onto the floor
With a element of surprise
And the buzz of the guards
Who were running
Around below
Like headless bees.

All I could make out was
The occasional word
Screamed out across
The short distance
through the window
And the blur of the helicopters
Flying around the sky
With TV Cameras
Dangling out of their side
Like vultures.

All I could remember was
After your second question
The way you trotted
The rest of them out
With such speed
It was clear
You were not answered
In what I was
Going to say
And was more interested
In what was going on
Across the road.

All I could remember was
Your half mumbled sigh
At the end of my every answer
And the way you looked
At your watch twice
As if you were wondering
would I ever shut up.

All I could remember was
The way you looked
Out of the window
All the way down
The stairs
And then disappeared
Like a ghost
At the reception desk
Without even
A thank you for attending.

All I could see when
I stepped outside
Was the Police barricades
And what was clearly
Families at the edge
Trying to find out
Where their loved
Ones were okay.

But your reflection
Shone in the window
All the way back to my car
Like a crazed queen
Who was enjoying
Looking at the madness
Going on beneath her.

Needless to say
I didn’t get the job.

But wished I had
Got on that roof
Looking back.

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Andy N

Wed 6th Apr 2011 08:13

thanks to all for commenting.. took a bit this poem but one that i feel was worth coming...

lot i could say about the piece itself, but in this case - i'll let the poem stand for itself..

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Elaine Booth

Fri 1st Apr 2011 22:15

Andy, this is fantastic - love it. The whole poem is like a sign of those times & also an expression of human nature. There is something of the belittling of the other - the view of the riot: "By all accounts / It was little more than a protest" - not your view but the official view & "Without even / A thank you for attending." The repetition of "all I could..." is really inspired - there is something about the way you are underselling the action here that makes it all the stronger.
Having heard your Moss Side poem I can really hear your voice in this poem. Good stuff - very vivid & powerful.

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Ann Foxglove

Tue 29th Mar 2011 19:00

I got very involved in this Andy. Good one! Some great lines too - headless bees when you usually think of headless chickens, the blurr of helicopters, the crazed queen. xx

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Val Cook

Tue 29th Mar 2011 14:52

I agree Andy this is a well composed poem. Good work.

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Tue 29th Mar 2011 13:43

I guess the woman/crazed queen is the person giving the interview. I love the subtle way you link the interviewee to the protesters - not to be put down spiritually, totally aware of the woman's failings.

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melanie coady

Tue 29th Mar 2011 13:31

lovely hun xx

<Deleted User> (7789)

Tue 29th Mar 2011 12:13

I've read this a second time it seems better somehow - has it got a new verse, the one about the woman going down the stairs? Anyway, i didn't 'get' that bit when i read it last night, and now it makes a lot more sense to me - good stuff Andy!

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Laura Taylor

Tue 29th Mar 2011 09:32

Gawd, I remember this. Like Dave, I really like how you've married the two events, plus I love the complete lack of judgement for the protesting prisoners, but a certain amount of judgement for the 'non-con' ignorant mare who is meant to be 'better' than people who have been locked up

Great poem Andy

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Dave Morgan

Mon 28th Mar 2011 21:52

Nice one Andy, my acquaintance Dicko from Salford is one of those characters. Neat juxtaposition of two unrelated events, works well. Stanza 3, "interested" for "answered"?

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