The Chav

Holding fast my grande coffee,
Past the Bookie, past the Offie,
Down the alley by the Tesco
(a most convenient al fresco
toilet for homecoming drunks,
A quiet place for blowing chunks
when caught short of a water closet,
And just the right spot to deposit,
Atop the teens’ cigarette stubs,
Pint glasses borrowed from the pubs),

'Twas here that I was forced to have
a tango with a Bristol chav:
Our paths were heading for collision,
We both were wracked by indecision,
We shuffled this way, feinted that,
But underneath his Burberry hat
no smile met mine to make it jokey,
This impromptu hokey-cokey,
No human touch, no recognition,
Just a joyless tunnel vision.

But it was even worse than that,
For as he muscled by, he spat.
And even muttered ‘fkng twt’.
A beady eye, a reptile’s glare,
A beastly eye, a thrush’s stare,
More coiled steel than life in there,
A raptor’s, rodent’s, robot’s face.
So tell me, is it commonplace,
In his anti-world, this anti-grace?
We share a common space, a town,
But seem to have no common ground,
Except the brutal geographic.
I turned to watch him dodge the traffic,
Weaving in and out the queue,
Hunched body language, ‘yeah f'kyou’.

So what unholy matrimony of nature/nuture spawned this boney
Monster with his gangling gait, his cultivated primate’s hate?
His greasy crew-cut, mockney drawl,
Is this man’s future:
Nasty, brutish, and tall?

Or should we blame his father?
But if his father, why not his father?
Or a thousand fathers farther
back? The chain must start somewhere.
It starts there.

After all,
Nobody took this thing
and forced him to wear all the bling,
Or made him start taxi rank fights,
Or made him smoke the Marlborough Lights,
Or made him scrawl ‘Go home Paki’,
Or made him wear the Kappa trackie
at all hours (not just in the gym).
So I don’t blame his father,
I blame him.

September 2006

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