South-Central Walthamstow


The war memorial’s slashed in brash Cyrillic-esque graffiti:

“Da Shapka Krew runs tings” and slits your whistle-throat entreaty

for peace in a pebbledashed circus where defaced, de-souled banditti

give a blindfold knife-thrower sort of show

down South-Central Walthamstow.


Innocence treads tightropes over crack-fiend, thief and lurker

and Romance is a concrete-booted rubber-gloved mazurka.

The only feeling in your gut’s the chunks of chicken burger

juggled by your gastric flow

down South-Central Walthamstow.


Boys in bubbled price-tagged trainers peacock out of shops

that sink their fangs in necks in lands where workers’ rights are swapped

for football shirts, down alleyways to burp on alcopops.

They burn copies of ‘No Logo’

down South-Central Walthamstow.


Pearly Kings were decapitated or abdicated instead,

the double-barrels rolled out and the chirpy sparras fled.

Now landlords, slippery as eels, are stroking the queen’s head,

those bleeding Berkshire hunts who go

and buy South-Central Walthamstow.


With Cockney character kicked carefully in each squinting eyeball,

the atmosphere’s convenient, the situation viable

for a bunch of patisserie-posies to outprice their native rival

and toast the ghostly post-mortem show

that is South-Central Walthamstow.


Beaujolais-bathed hyacinths burst upwards every day

even though “There’s a distinct lack of café societé!”

and now it costs the firefighters’ union’s yearly pay

for a shack on a shark-infested row

down South-Central Walthamstow.


The wine-bars on the murder mile charge for piles of ice,

a vegan restaurant flowers where the butcher’s boy got sliced,

on every corner slumps a beggar in a coat of lice

where clumps of dandelions grow,

down South-Central Walthamstow.





© Gammon 2020
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2 months ago

Some great images there. Hoe Street market – Blackhorse Road – different when I lived there but the pot was simmering 🙂

2 months ago
Reply to  Gammon

so they killed the pub eh?

2 months ago
Reply to  Gammon

Some great -pubs on Spring Bank where I live are now ice cream parlours and Asian or Polish takeaways – never see a customer in them. how do they survive?

2 months ago
Reply to  Gammon

I had a brief Polish girlfriend she was big on potatoes and onions – maybe I lied about the takeaways – I’ve been locked down so long 🙂

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