A skyline as idiosyncratic
as Manhattan’s, Chicago’s – its totems
of wealth, faith and dominion – belies
the city’s cruelty: fortunes from famine,
despotism, slavery; licensing
of squalor, bigotry and despair.
In the park where the Orange Lodge drummed out
The Twelfth, a rape was immediate headlines –
white girl, black youths. In Toxteth – its decayed
squares and terraces built on molasses
and cotton, some street signs repainted green,
gold, red, the colours of Rastafari –
was daubed, ‘Vote ANC’.
NOTE: The poem was originally published on the site in April 2010.