Back In The Day

I grew up in Forest gate
Where Henry VIII went
Hunting, his name a gate.
I went to Elmhurst School
Where I was reared after
The oak, my family tree
There my British-Asian friends
Were we grew up in the
Concrete jungle all philosophical

We rode our BMX's in a chain
We rode around the block
Around the neighbourhood
Sometimes we'd go on long walks
On train trips, thinking
What we could do, in the train of thought
We'd moved on from the symbology
Of Coats-Of-Arms to bus'ing garms.
Reading the spine of the book
Titles from the past and future
Of heart and of head a body of work.
The primary school teacher
Sang songs in assembly.

Secondary School saw us
In uniforms maroon and grey
As we walked each morning
Through the city
Ties and Langdon crests
New ties formed
English, history and the arts
Science and religious studies
Catalysts in the lab, economics.
Multicultural London
The world was changing
We learned of big city secrets
When we were precocious and seventeen
We listened to hip hop and rock
Read of the Beat Generation
And listened to Wu-Tang Clan
We traveled to New York
And saw the Skyscrapers in the stibnite
Drinking my first pint in the Boleyn
Beer filled by pool we stood
Seeing a horizon in the pint
Lifted to the sky of cumulus
Seeing Benjamin Zephaniah
My boroughs poet in a masala teashop
On Green Street.

by Zubyre Parvez

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