Wind Howls/Battle Come Down, after the Clash – Robin M. Eames

Wheels juddering over unforgiving cobblestone sending tiny earthquakes through spoke and spine. Don’t wince or some naff young tourist will look at you and think gosh why are cripples always so angry and miserable looking, better off dead, if i had to be wheelchair bound I’d kill myself. Not that they’ve tried it. Crip punk’s not dead, it’s just waiting on the euthanasia bill to pass the House of Lords. They forgot where the word came from, they don’t learn about the Aktion T4 program in their A levels. Nothing beautiful about death. Dark-watered Thames down at the tideway. Lump of something in the foamy wash lapping up at the bank, might be a body, might be someone’s laundry. London burnt out, still sooty from 1666, one preserved alleyway reminder of one baker’s momentary folly, never mind the folly of a thousand thousand thatch-roofed houses, they saved the books beneath St Paul’s after all. Great big bloody monument at Pudding Lane, right in the middle of the Pool of London. Not yet quenched. London rises again. London doesn’t burn anymore although the ghost of Londinium still hovers just beneath the surface. This city’s old but has a short memory. We forget about the bodies under our feet. We forget about the bodies we burnt. We forget about the bodies we forgot about. Victorian slums and council estates, what’s the difference? More bodies, that’s what. Packed like sardines. Slums in the sky. Le Corbusier would weep. No socialist paradise here. Spalling, corrosion, corruption, post-war pollution-greyed concrete streaked with water stains like architectural lamentation. The tower blocks are crying out. London always cries. Sky bursting into tears every other minute like a leaky fucking faucet. Trapped inside on rainy days, the rims slip with the water and you’ll find yourself swinging right into the path of a black cab or one of the buses that you still can’t catch. You can try the Underground instead, call ahead to Fulham Broadway or Imperial Wharf for them to get out the manual ramps, good fucking luck getting out again at the other end. Mind the gap. Make sure you don’t try travelling at peak hour or some toff in a cheap suit will inevitably end up falling into your lap, and not in the fun way. Bruises under your eyes get a pint down at the corner pub and someone says permanent or temporary? Hand on your wheel look them dead in the eye until they start to get uncomfortable and you say, don’t know yet. How about you? They laugh it off shuffle away and you’re still staring after them. The students are striking again. The doctors are striking again. Can’t remember if Brexit has gone through yet but your Pakistani neighbours don’t walk alone at night anymore. Storm rattles the windows. Dark-watered Thames with the tideway rising. Fog looming, clouds gathering, but that pale sun still rising. Your bones ache and your heart moans but you’re still rising. The flood tides are coming and you’re still rising. London doesn’t burn anymore but the waters are rising, the stars are rising, you’re still rising, rising, rising up high.