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Poetry on the picketline Stoicism in Stockwell by Rick Dove

In the city there’s a thousand things I want to say to you...

growing up in London makes for an intimate relationship with the law
of large numbers, the nature of random how things are inevitable,
even far off ones wary of cascade failures of complex systems but
remaining stoic with them, how 1% of a population being sociopaths
is more than enough when you live with so many people,
how just because you are never more than ten feet from a rat
doesn’t mean you always see them. or can recognise one

growing up black in London makes for an intimate relationship with the law,
for in large enough numbers stop and search stops feeling random,
becomes inevitable and being ever wary of the failures of this system
makes for antagonisms but remaining stoic with them you grow up
seeing the 1% have too much, when you live with so many people
who don’t have enough sometimes you grow up
wanting to tear it all down...

Poetry on the Picket Line is a squad of like-minded poets putting themselves about to read their work on picket lines, in the spirit of solidarity. Invitations to rallies etc. welcome, contact The new Poetry on the Picketline anthology is available at




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