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Levelling Up by Paul Fisher

*Warning: this poem may contain language or content that is unsuitable for younger readers.*

When you’ve ripped the heart and soul
From a proud Northern town.
When your cups overflow onto
Your stockbroker’s belt
When you’ve never felt
What it’s like to scrape and beg.

When wealth sits on the lap
Of a dying man
And money floods in and floods out
In the beat of a diseased heart;
The pied piper of decay,
The dissonant tune he plays
As
Marks
And
Spencer
And
Smith
And
Thornton
And
Debenham
All move out
In a charabanc
You’ll never see on a
Thomas Cook tour.

When even the place that exists
to give credit to those
Unable to pay,
When the charity shop
And the cash in a dash
Have dashed off
In a race to the top of the stocks

It’s a go cart crash,
A bear market,
A barely living,
barely breathing
Third world
Forgotten future
Fucked up
Infamous failure.

A lone lady stands and looks
down Dalton Road
Back to when she was a girl
And the Union Jack
Flew proud on the
Town Hall stack,
Rather than being waved
By the fake patriots
Selling the country
To the lowest brow.

And when she carried the bag
Of make and mend
From the haberdasher
For her mother
Who said to her
“Never forget where you’re from”