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London Bridges

Tolu Ogunlesi

We ride a cosmopolitan storm, a double-decker chaos.

We ride an empire


under the threat of revenge.

Black faces look


and hold secrets

of the coming apocalypse. Shhh.


Don’t tell the queen. Don’t let

Number 10 in on this. Mop your floors,


as though you had resigned to fate. Turn

the other cheek. Allow the old to shit


all over you, as though it were a privilege.

Until the time shall come –


and soon is – when the empire will

expire. Then we shall rename Buckingham Palace,


dredge the Thames to the Atlantic,

so the bones of the Chained


shall clasp the souls of the Owners.

We shall teach taxi-meters


to measure the sins of Homo Superiors

and count the bound cries


of sub-men;

tutor the buses to stop


at each ancient landmark scattered

between Zanzibar and here;


reconfigure coin slots

to spit out words like nigger.


Shhh. Don’t tell the queen.

From Magma no. 35, 2006

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