White Heat

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On the side of a mill
On the Rochdale canal.
Anger is an energy
and it fuelled you.

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Listen. Can you hear?
The rumble of approaching Doc Martens?
There. Can you see?
A skinhead with a scarf on his wrist?

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A strike into enemy territory
SHANKLY in yellow
CITY in sky blue

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The man mutters
into another wasted pint,
on another wasted night,
in a wasted life.

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no not entirely wasted.
For he was there, he bore witness
to the power and the glory,
the white heat of a 1970s Elland Road.

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For the world to change so much
does it feel like betrayal?
Here though you made your mark
and what you wrote has cast a spell.

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here still,
among the jungle of weeds
and empty cans,
the broken dreams and sunken shopping trolleys

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And Don Revie is the once and future king,
with Billy Bremner his Prince,
and you, the lost legions,
wait for him still.



From some graffiti on the Rochdale canal (in Rochdale). Football graffiti then (in the 1960s/70s/80s) was very tribal and powerful. A marking out of territory. ‘Here be dragons’ kind of thing. I liked, also, how they captured a moment in time – you could look at some graffit crowing about winning the cup and remember those days, as your team was getting relegated or something (I am a MCFC fan)

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/white-heat/