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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
TOMMY DOCS RED ARMY
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.

9

Notes

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: https://footballpoets.org/poems/white-heat/