Bowie Mural, Brixton 2016

I’ve seen the graffiti of gratitude
scrawled on a wall by a multitude
of mourners who didn’t know what to do
to mark the momentous occasion –
just needed to leave some personal statement,
messages, notes saying “You were great, man”
and votive offerings for a vanished star:
there’s a cheap red wig, a broken guitar
and scented candles, guttering in jam jars.
Fans leave more flowers, leave in a hurry
as the beggars assemble, scenting money.
Kids point to the mural “Who’s that, mummy?” –
their mummy begins to weep. The facade slips,
and suddenly that British upper lip
trembles, can’t bring itself to be quite so stiff.
A nation’s reputation in danger
today, as strangers comfort sobbing strangers –
somewhere, the Starman smiles, sings “Ch-ch-changes…”


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