Alistair Noon




from “station / street”



5.  Tobacco Industry


A rustle in the bushes

as a patrol van passes:


a Vietnamese woman

hurries through a mass burial


of untaxed imports,

her expiry-dated permit.





Baseball-capped, spotty and hooded-topped,

you, with your Pitbull vanguard and Alsatian at the rear,

walk where Stalin’s artillery growled, and fear


sank its teeth into the legs of the shelled,

refugees in their own cellars,

and for seven days all exercise stopped.





Down where they founded the city

in the years of chivalry and pillage,

the weapon popes banned as the Devil’s –

for its seventy-kilo recoil –

competes with the air pistol and rifle

in a local Moloch’s shop window:

quality has always sold.



11. On an East Berlin Street


Where the Roads Department pulled down signs

to put up the new, you pad your way, not

quite steadily, thin-jacketed in Spring.


Cousins once removed ask what fibres you wove,

knots you tied and threads you broke,

want a list of all your complicities.


The specialists who looked in on you as you lay

in a waking coma – so they diagnosed –

want to know what you were thinking


but can’t quite believe you remember anything.



12. Two Tenements


On one, disrepair has skimmed first letters

off “ream”, “utter” and “ilk”.

The spatter of grenades

sticks to the grey cornerstones.


The second, peach-tinged, frames a glass door.

Fixed above is a bright-lit sign –

seaweed which predicts a shore:

“Events”, “Consultancy”, “Design”.



13. The Operation


Where the anaesthetized face once stared back,

rented mesh keeps strollers

out of the next block: from the top floor,

chipped furniture dribbles down the chute

into the skip to be driven off

with the drilled and extracted kitchen walls

whose contracts the new owners won’t extend.




Alistair Noon © 2007