River Estate Retrospective


perfect pattern paving built for hopscotch

roads wide as the dirty River Mersey     

side to street a hundred feet

plenty space for kerby

plenty more for ollies green

smashed to glassy smithereens

by Kevin Roberts dobber

in the gutter


twenty pair maternal eyes scrutinize the scene

behind the nets nothing goes unnoticed

every single misdemeanour noted and transmitted

supersonic bulletins of social misbehaviour

dispatches travel faster than the speed of sound or light

penance follows quicker than a wink


outside in the alleyway

salvationary bog

lacked electric light and inner lock

dirtyscary spiderwebbed saviour of the careless child

delivered us from shaming yellow knickers

piddled all the quicker on the cold and snowy days


secondhanded vehicles the weekend entertainment

forehead scratchers crowd around the one remaining Haynes

consulting oily oracle, extrapolating data

communicating contradicting estimating engine parts

sorting out solutions on the cheap, communally

see the scrappy, bartering a favour for the spares


winter sunshine sinks beneath the farmerfield rise

and the trig point, where you can see for miles on all sides

and the hollow of the Dell

and the ditches full of dens

teatime dishes clatter onto tables laying down

butter placed before the fire for half an hour's heat

plates are warmed and so it seems that every single family

is eating Irish stew tonight

going by the smell upon the River 




The River Estate, Merseyside.

A 1975 pre-Thatcher slice of life.

Community and care

where the posh kids parents stared

through the windows of their Rover

then kindly let me know that it was

"Quite nice, really, for a council house estate"


which surprised me, cos I'd only ever thought of it as home.


🌷 (3)

◄ Assertion Repetition and Contagion

Alt-Prayer ►


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Laura Taylor

Fri 27th Jan 2017 11:49

Thanks Colin

Yeh, do similar myself, but wanted this to be almost childlike/nursery rhyme in its refrains, with it harking back to my childhood. And obviously it is very much a performance piece again.

Mmm - take on board that initial ppp - will have a play around with alternatives. Erm no urchins involved that I know of - it's not my project though so not sure of all details.

Thanks again

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Colin Hill

Thu 26th Jan 2017 17:37

I sometimes begin to write a poem by leaving out the little words in order to make the lines more minimal, let the long words do their stuff so to speak. Sometimes it works and sometimes I think oh fuck it I'm putting the little words back in because they just make it easier to speak, it's their little unsung hero jobs, sometimes overlooked poor dears.

whether or not that waffle could be applied here, well, that's your choice and, I think we've discussed before, your way of reciting which is important too. I do like the poem and I don't have any issue with the alliteration although the starter line I find tricky and for the above reason I'd be tempted to add a little word, to break up them p's, maybe

(a) perfect pattern (of) paving built for hopscotch

hope that's of some help Laura. Good luck with the project, sounds fun. Will you be working with street urchins? Col.

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Laura Taylor

Wed 25th Jan 2017 15:24

Hi Paul

First of all, welcome - this place has been my saviour over the last 6 years or so and I wouldn't have written the amount I have without it, or developed my writing without the support and encouragement.

Thank you for your comments. Yep, it's a performance piece for sure. I'm hoping it has that effect on people - make them think of their own back streets.

Thanks re Rebellious Senescence 😃

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Paul Waring

Wed 25th Jan 2017 14:09

Hi Laura, to me this reads well and I don't think there is too much alliteration. It certainly brings back lots of dear memories to someone like me, who grew up in Liverpool (well, the arse-end of supposedly posh Maghull, actually!) in the 60'/70's. It captures a lot of what life was like on streets like ours (by the way, I'd kill for a game of kerby right now!). I can really imagine this being performed live.

P.S. I'm fairly new on here so still finding my way around people's back catalogues but, coincidentally, I watched your YouTube performance of Rebellious Senescence earlier today and really enjoyed it. Good luck with the street poetry project. Paul

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Laura Taylor

Wed 25th Jan 2017 13:37

Edit of an old poem, that I'm hoping to use in a street poetry project. Posted for honest impressions and critique. I know it's overkill on alliteration at times. I took the worst of it out.

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