6.07 / London Calling

To Wakefield

To Wakefield
after Jenny Lindsay

Wakefield, you dirty bitch.
You patron saint of brickyards and rickets,
leaky filling in the mouth of the North.

There is no better word for you than slag.
Sat out on the dead and yellow lawn
of industry, braless and drunk,

you’re hitching up your negligee
to flash the trains.  Wakefield,
the ultimate lousy lay –

you mutton-dressed catastrophe,
shoving your hands down the jeans
of strangers in doorways on the Westgate run

and hiccupping kisses at Leeds.
Wakefield, you brash and brass-necked slattern
whose tongue is the Saturday turn

at the Working Men’s Club
and whose stockings have run at the seams.
Shaky Wakey – your phone number inked

in the single stall of the gents
at the Cock and Dolphin
alongside the words for a good time call…

Wakefield.  You fag-end of cities;
you district of many a dirty black mouth,
all stoppered now and blowsy with hate.

Wakefield, you flag-decked capital of chavs.
I told you I loved you.
You punched my lights out and fucked my Dad.

Claire Askew’s poetry has featured in numerous publications including Poetry Scotland, The Edinburgh Review and The Guardian. She has won numerous poetry awards and her work was selected for inclusion in the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems of the Year anthology in both 2008 and 2009. Her debut pamphlet, The Mermaid and the Sailors, was recently published by Red Squirrel Press. Claire is also a lecturer and works with Edinburgh’s Telford College and the University of Edinburgh, where she is also reading for a PhD. She blogs at onenightstanzas.com