Heaven Bound

Crimson chaos fills the gaps
Inside the council pavement slabs

Torn and ravaged pizza boxes
Rats and bats and cats and foxes

Rescue workers brave the dark
Find kittens in a retail park

Mouse retrieves half of a fag
From a tube platform Tesco bag

Ragged spider climbs and falls
CCTV on the walls

The heron stands with grace and poise
Un-ruffled by the traffic’s noise

Or gangs or fumes or screaming teens
He thrives and dives and flies and preens

Cold metal, engines, clean machines
Have wildness in the in-betweens

With build and dig and pound and profit
Still life escapes, you cannot stop it

Shopping trolleys in the lake
Condoms, cans the grass is fake

Technocrats will make us stronger
Downloading a life that’s longer

Time to type and likes to share
What is this life if no one’s there?

No time to leap in golden grasses
Watch the rain with virtual glasses

Sunset blasts the sex shop window
Laughing at our broke libido

Bee and Beetle, Moth and Snail
Wing and Claw and Tooth and Tail

Rubbish tip abandoned rug
Is home to seven types of bug

Robin hops along the road
Fountain houses frog and toad

Beneath the river, murdered son
Is loss for mum but food for some

Pigeon hops on broken legs
Grabs a crumb from outside Greggs

The skinny cat sits by the pub
Tattooed men consume their grub

And smoke and laugh and throw a scrap
Of their Sunday lunchtime kebab

The infant goes to school, his senses
Overwhelmed, by barbed wire fences

Pylons, drilling, iPhone screeching
A.I educators teaching

Even still, the leaves compel
To jump into the husky shell

Of chestnut trees and conkers bright
Carved out with artistic light

And all through class and games and prayer
The tiny seeds trapped in his hair

Carried with him, like a charm
A fir cone in his guilty palm

The patchwork hills are William Hills
Pot plants on our window sills

And life escapes, although we bind it
Take your wonder, where you find it

Tube compartment, stole all eyes
Mesmerised by butterflies

School assembly brought to laughter
Starling flew into a rafter

Fifty trillion gigabytes
And still tune in to falcon’s flights

And jumping fish and playing bears
And snakes and goats, rabbits and hares

And leopards leaping in the sun
Digitalise having fun

And call it Cloud, Apple and Sky
Capture life and hang it high

Lock it up and beat it often
Nails in mother nature’s coffin

Humans in a doorway try
Avoid the gaze of one magpie

Nettles round a broken toy
A dream of long forgotten joy

And vines have overgrown and bound
And pulled a phone under the ground

The twisted knots of brazen weeds
They were removed, returned at speed

The council came to rape the lock
But back it grows by 6 o’clock

The refuse sacks thrown in the street
Are banquets slugs would like to eat

And scratching scampers through your roof
A dozen mice are on the move

One is fatter than the rest
Electric wires make her nest

And if the babies start to chew
There’ll be no Love Island for you

The river Thames contains a wealth
Of products to improve our health

Swimming in our mind suppressants
Frogs enjoy anti-depressants

Newt forgets to grow a tail
Boy fish turns into female

Activists display wristbands
Draw hashtags on their earnest hands

Newspaper opportunity
But planted not a single tree

The rescue dog with leg removed
Wags his tail when he smells food

And happy even when it’s raining
On all three his legs remaining

High rise rises, doorway lurkers
Lanyards, forms and social workers

Savage morning, Satan shivered
Someone still gets milk delivered

Silver top has sprung a leak
A blackbird stabbed it with his beak

Whitehall sells shares in Thames water
Parks are turned to bricks and mortar

If they could they’d sell the rain
They’d put a toaster in your brain

Upload the squirrel in his tree
Recorded for posterity

What was the point of his reaction?
If I can’t share it with a caption

Bestow him with a human slant
We compensate for what we can’t

The birds are mimicking the tones
Emitting from your mobile phones

The school kids scream as if a killer
Monster, beast perhaps Godzilla

Chases them, but what’s the fuss?
A bumble bee upon the bus

The billionaire who’s five abodes
Are in the fanciest postcodes

Can buy his way to better places
Buy all his wives brand new faces

White roses adorn the hall
Where no one ever comes to call

A cleaner changes them on Mondays
Swaps the old with pretty bouquets

Clever are the human ones
Who learnt to use our brilliant thumbs

And build machines allowing you to
Live your life on a computer

Compensating for our weakness
Making robots, just to please us

Nature brutal, brave, robust,
We fall over from a gust

Of pleasure, pain or just a word
That someone said, or someone heard

Virus sent us all indoors
And spring came in with lion’s roars

Flowers growing, river rushes
Using all its make-up brushes

Petrol mixes with the faint
And distant smell of builder’s paint

And apple wood and burning tyre
Crystal meth and back yard fire

Clever beauty, works by stealth
Producing patterns, on itself

A work of art, of perfect plan,
A rose is rose, because it can

Fuscia in the gutter gleaming
No fuscia in England’s dreaming

Granddad told not to trespass
Remembers when all this was grass

You can see it everyday
That life will try to find a way

Against the odds, against a wall
Honeysuckle, standing tall

Like peasants bound in chains infernal
Hope will spring ever eternal.

Alisha J Prince is a writer from London who’s first book, Digital Scum, won a Spread The Word award in 2017. She appears in UK journals from time to time and recently voiced the characters of Sin and Eve in an unabridged audio book of Paradise Lost. All of the above can be found here: ALI.ME.UK

(Also hear Alisha read her poem at our Open Mic.)

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