Peel Precinct

by Aoife Mannix

The woman in the bright pink scarf says the square

is empty now but back in the fifties this market

was buzzing with barrow boy bargains.  Live eels

wriggling with soon to be jelly bravado.  Stallions

shivering outside the horse butchers though she

never knew any but the French to eat such meat.

A string of pearl shops where people echoed

your name, your family, the county you came

from back in the old country.  Cork, Kerry,

Kilkenny, Killarney, Kildare, Kilburn.

Their music transferred to an alien city,

proud to play more Irish than the Irish themselves.

They were poorer than those up on the high road

but they were never short of a helping hand.

The Paddies and the Blacks united in their reversal

of no dog signs as they mixed Donegal and Trinidad

into coffee children calling out for a chance to show

they are no mere statistics in a drawer, jokers

in a pack that keeps being reshuffled, but voices

of vision that leap across concrete divisions.

Street corner pioneers conquering vertigo

with a single bound.  The richness of lyrical

answers sewn into the wings of their trainers.

Hip-hop sky diving acrobats who tumble and spin

across their own urban palaces that have

yet to be built.  Angel rebels whose cloud souls

are not for sale, they rewrite the signs so they point

up into the sky.  Dance their own invisible maps

through the rain forest of broken stones.

This entry was posted in Aoife Mannix and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Peel Precinct

  1. m v Stoll says:

    I really enjoyed this poem of the history of south Kilburn, and the flavour of how it was. Very cleverly put together with a great rhythm. Aoife has really captured the atmosphere of the area. We miss the pie and mash shop and the buzz.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s