Performance Poetry: Luke Further’s “Avocado Blues”

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Luke Further

Avocado Blues

A poem

 

“Uruk Cityscape” by Nigel Packham

 what’s death doing here on a middle-class sunny afternoon street?
outside my favourite vegan patisserie
another dead teenager lies in mute twisted agony
beside a sign for fair trade hipster coffee
merciless juxtaposition
spiteful repetition
another deathly collision
between the animal free bakewell tarts and the spiteful dark arts of seedy gangland grooming
someone said go on do im in

no right-minded citizen should have to sidestep death as they stroll out of the organic grocery store on an upper second-class degree sunday morning clutching a perfectly ripe avocado
but there’s death
giggling at one more victim of perverse post code bravado
toxic masculinity
leering lust for liberty
teenage duplicity
grown up too quickly
trying to stake a claim
make a name
get in the frame
for the instagram post
standing second on the left
once at the front
now a ghost
snapchat backchat
deleting each other
one by one
the numbers keep adding up
shut the fuck up
think i give a fuck
fuckin cut im up

no one should be required to shovel 50 dead teens out of the way just get into jo jo mamen bebe with the urge to splurge 60 quid on baby sunglasses
biodegradable nappies
and a mini trapeze for when our little angel starts circus classes
thank goodness
(or whatever remains of it)
that john lewis suckered us in for the off-road tyres and four-wheel drive adjustment on the buggy
or things might have got ugly
riding rough shod over that young boy’s gaping torso

if you could talk to them
you would tell them
if you thought they would listen
you could help them
we’re hardly turning a blind eye
we’re only human you and i
we don’t go untouched by this callous curse
we see death winking at the wheel of his hearse
the problem is they have to want to help themselves first
it’s their alienation
this alien nation
too much gentrification
the glorification
of violence
on you tube
not enough education
a lack of aspiration
no male role models

can you even be bothered to book a babysitter when death is on the menu at your favourite small plate restaurant?
it’s enough to put you off your peckham margarita
five dishes between two should do you
says the bearded waiter
elegantly avoiding the cadavers between the distressed couches
devilled
griddled
fatally riddled
pan seared scallops
served with a dollop
of council estate ketchup and a smidgeon of spleen
it’s fucking obscene
just another statistic to reinforce your change in logistics
better take the long way home tonight
better not leave home tonight
things might just be alright if we all keep our head beneath the sheets
beat a tactical retreat
the effrontery of considering moving to the country
sounds divine
but what about county lines
well it looks different round here now we’ve got kids
it’s hard to explain
a world of pain
that becomes mundane
to an infant brain
death constantly getting in the way
at the recycled salvaged steel trendily splendid pet friendly local kiddies’ playground
we should get away

but to add insult to unexpected complication
turns out death’s a fucking awful estate agent
clad in black three-piece suit, smoking a coal coloured cheroot, blood on the spurs of his cowboy boots, dark glasses and rigor mortis grin
there’s a crack in everything
but still no light gets in

don’t go out tonight
death is on the charge
he’s having it large
crashing cigarettes and slitting throats outside the newsagents
smearing tear shaped blood stains across the pavement
frightening the living daylights out of bus stops
beside the desperate testaments of stacked bouquets
death is everywhere
he’s not fighting fair
there’s rivers of blood from the boys in the hood
death is looking at you the wrong way
talking shit about your mother
wearing the wrong colour
expensive shoes
death is
something you said on whatsapp
your sister’s new boyfriend snarling “hold this a minute”
a phone out of credit
a card over limit
everywhere there is living proof that death darkens the door steps of council blocks
and the only way to tell the time is on a stopped watch

replacing fisticuffs with funerals
succumbing to the bone marrow numbing numbers
then one morning you wake up to hear a familiar name on the national news
someone you knew has been accosted grappled and bloody gutted over nothing by nobody
another one that got away
someone you liked has had to lie and watch the living daylights gush out of him with only the frightened faces of strangers to let him know he is not yet in heaven
just sixteen years old
what were you thinking about when you were sixteen years old?
far-fetched dreams of that gorgeous girl who lived just down the road but was already forever out of reach
not saving face
fighting for a place
in the pecking order
of ritual slaughter
to survive
i wasn’t just trying to stay alive

grief eats you alive
it gnaws at your intestines
a rotting ache
it paws at your thoughts
refusing to let you settle on anything in particular for long enough to forget about it before it returns
taking you under
now more than just another number
casting its demon black shadow followed by a gale of hideous nausea
foreshadowing itself
before thrusting the details
smacking you with the entrails
of a life unexamined
the verdict is damning
culpable and incapable
naked and explicitly inescapable
death is a mother’s tears
death is paid for in years
the absent sound of a missing laugh
death is the same age forever in a photograph
on a mantelpiece
in a lounge
of a house
on a wretched remorseless rainy afternoon london street

 

About the writer:
Luke Further is a mixed-race poetic voice from Peckham, London. He performs live at spoken word events across the capital and is currently recording his debut EP.

Image: “Uruk Cityscape” by Nigel Packham. Acrylic on unspecified medium. 110 x 140 cm. 2014. By free license.

By | 2019-08-09T18:49:12+00:00 August 9th, 2019|LITERARY ARTS, Lyric, PERFORMANCE ARTS, Performance/Slam Poetry, Poetry|