A poem by Mike Garry

Mike Garry recently read this new poem on BBC Radio Manchester. If you’re coming to see Angels with Manky Faces at the Dancehouse in November, this will get you right in the mood. In the mean time, check out Mike’s work here.

Angels with Manky Faces

Close your eyes

Go back in time

Picture this in your mind

A summer sky without sunshine

Pigs dogs and rats are running wild

The smell of shite the buzz of flies

Pub and mill on every corner

Street alive with disorder

Open sewer smell of sulphur

Poverty of the lowest order

Echoed clog

Echoed hoofs

Dripping rain from dripping roofs

The iron grind steel rimmed cartwheels

Music laughter a choir of screams

Ancoats

Circa 1880

Decadence awash

Vice aplenty

Brothels in hovels dogfights down stairs

Bare-knuckle boxers

Shebeens everywhere

Five families share one house with two rooms

Raucous cries from the singing saloons

Tots pedal sin running door to door

Jugs of ale and gin fly back and forth

Spreading tales of Scuttling Gangs

Who lay down their lives for a small plot of land

Wearing clogs with shined and sharpened brass tips

Belt and Buckle wrapped tight round their fists

A short back and sides and tattooed fore arms

With the name of their true love within a red heart

The Bengal tigers the buffalo bill the meadow lads maim and kill

They’re chalking their codes on the sides of pub walls

All for one

One for all…………………………………………..

Open your eyes

Return to modern times

Walk the streets and you will find

A summer sky without sunshine

Dogs as weapons running wild

The smell of weed the buzz of flies

The pubs and mills on every corner

Have been converted to apartments

Cars, buses, trucks speeding by

The smell of carbon monoxide

Bouncing rain on tarmac streets

Different songs different beats

Ancoats on the cusp of 2010

History repeats itself again

Tots on bikes pedalling sin

In the form of crack cocaine and heroine

And telling tales of the Manchester gangs

Cheetah, Gooch, Doddington

Chalking codes on mobile phones

In pristine trainers and logo’d clothes

Mothers cry into Rosary Beads

A son is gone and he’s only sixteen

On Facebook on t shirts and tattooed shoulder

The letters R.I.P. and a list of fallen street soldiers

A copter hovers, a distant siren sings

There’s blood on the pavement the smell of death in the wind

Boy battles boy with knife and gun

A mother worries – it could be your son

Gone are the scuttlers the battles the chases

But there’ll always be angels with manky faces

(c) Mike Garry, October 2009

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