How embarrassing they are!
Some of their views
can be extraordinary.
Increasingly, we were torn
between protecting and
for at least fifteen minutes.
In the end, when they left,
it had little to do with us.
They don't stick to a plan.
On one level, so focussed
on organising our lives,
on another, as it turns out,
unreliable in their departure.
On constantly mishearing "rioting"
as "writing" on the BBC
There has been writing for ten days now
unabated. People are anxious, fed up.
There is writing in Paris, in disaffected suburbs,
but also in small towns, and old ones like Lyon.
The writers have been burning cars; they've thrown
homemade Molotov cocktails at policemen.
Contrary to initial reports, the writers
belong to several communities: Algerian
and Caribbean, certainly, but also Romanian,
Polish, and even French. Some are incredibly
young: the youngest is thirteen.
They stand edigly on street-corners, hardly
looking at each other. Long-standing neglect
and an absence of both authority and employment
have led to what are now ten nights of writing.
New and Selected Poems, 1985-2023