Issue 11 - Charlie Hawksfield - Shoreham Cement Works

The man tells me I can’t take photographs 

as if he owns the broken windows.

 

His yellow jacket looks all the more florescent

framed by weatherworn concrete 

bordered by white quarry cliffs

 

A towering chimney sticks up like a musket

threatening the impassive hills

squatting kilns, the stanchions, the little outhouses

gangways, brokenbone girders,

they beg to be 

 

captured.

Aged, decrepit, but still standing

like a general from a forgotten war

dignified, stubborn, useless.

 

We get quite a few of your type up here

he says staring over my shoulder 

something about private property

something about unsafe structure

I’ve decided this man is a fool.

 

Starved of limestone

gutted by indifference

the general waits to be torn down

humiliated by adolescent graffiti 

guarded by dullards in yellow jackets.

 

How many of my type have been here?

drawn to the last days of a concrete dinosaur 

I will come back tonight with a flash

 

I take one more look

and in lastlight

The works look alive again.

Workers, 

gruff, hardened men,

grunt good evening to each other

fires dosed, machinery whirring down,

cement for dreamworlds 

sent off down nowdead tracks

to be poured into Thatcherite flats

into screaming flyovers, quiet walkways

into the skeletons of cities, 

the Disneyland castle.

 

They should all pay homage

never mind my type

Maggie and Mickey Mouse

should spend a cold night here

showing their respect

choking on the echoes 

 

bed down 

in thick, grey 

cement dust.

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