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Norman Allan
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  The Battle of Grosvenor Square
 
March 17th 1968
 and revisited 2017/18


I went down to the demonstration
to get my share of the view
I was standing in the crowd with Mr. Micky
when the police rode rampant through

I decided to tell my counselor
but she didn't like what I said
she said the police train their horses to spare the crowd
and that's when I saw red


the rider drifted into his stern return
not that malice held the reins
rather the joy in agency
in action
he swung his horse round
moving like a lion begins its kill
riding with the soft yoke of havoc

two girls
like two gauche grazers
began to feel isolated
outlined
singular
open in too much space
they moved to change
this dawning that they stood as victims
in the unfolding pattern
they moved as cattle begin to move

as things flowed
as it unrolled
the horse upon them
they're run into a fall
one outward one forward
the horse over a fallen body at a canter
horse's legs and hoofs in movement
a camera might see it clearly
to me it was a flurry
of hoofs in that beautiful bent rise
that I saw
hoofs hooked like sapling
in a flurry over her coat her hair
and where is the eggshell skull
that she is alive today is luck
and not your bourgeois claptrap about "responsible policing"

but then    I
seeing
imagining
pain and death
sprung in the instant
into to an echoing
action
not passively watching
but flowing
into another
authority
and for no reason but to flow
pursuing

as I started to run I could see others
coming to the aid of the girls
so I was off
pursuing the rider

luckily I never caught him
cause he was on horseback
still
you don't particularly like
a working class hero    do you
and that's probably not just class interest there
how about a bit of old fashion penis envy


but no
I stumbled
so what did I say
I said I saw the girl trampled under hoof
but what did I see


My therapist, Caroline, my ex therapist then, was a woman in her late thirties, middle-class, you know, reasonable people, and she thought my radicalism was youthful posturing. I was twenty-four by then, and Caroline was then a friend, and mentor, ex shrink; but, and, I thought that her conservatism stemmed from class interests.


what did I say
I say what I thought I saw
but why say trampled she asked
because the instant was an instant
and that's what I thought
and that's how the words came out
were the hoofs on her back or not
would I have seen different

so why indeed did I say trampled under hoof
I have to confess now half a century later
it was sloppy talk spoken to perpetuate a view
my fake news

but back then
I thought
why is she creating such a fuss
why is she at my balls
and I thought of her      at times
as a jealous frozen older
older mature woman
fighting to maintain her portion
and I asked her in this poem
why she denied the death and blood outside her door
could it be guilt Ms. East India Company

I read her the poem
back then
an older version
she said    why
to speak truthfully


CODA

is it false memory     fake news
that I saw Jagger there
in the square
maybe ten yards off
by a police...
policeman's horse's head
Jagger with a cigarette in his hand
did he look at the horse
the fag
and walk away
cause what could a poor boy do
but to play in a rock and roll band
because in sleepy London Town
there was just no place for a street fighting man

 

 

 

 

 

 

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