All seemed particularly dystopian
as I walked out one morning down the high street,
towards MacDonald’s and KFC,
Café Nero, Costa and Starbucks,
boarded-up shops and charity shops,
and two young men selling the Big Issue.
Maybe it was the noise: the traffic’s grind,
an elderly busker’s cacophonous chords,
the fire engine howling – outside the KFC!
I approached the forming crowd, and overheard,
from customers smelling of smoke, rumours:
that one of the Kentucky Colonel’s
deep fat fryers had exploded into flame,
but the fire had been well doused, and no one harmed –
and I thought of the secret seasoning
of the incinerated chicken pieces.
The bell of the parish church opposite
began the slow toll for a funeral –
like some ironical, adagio
serenade to Mammon.