John Cooper Clarke – 1976

More from John Cooper Clarke in Manchester socialist poetry magazine Voices.
These are from issue 3, March 1976.
A poem from issue 2 here.
There were several issues without numbers prior to issue ‘one’.


i have seen the lions of longleat eat
their toothless gums sucking meat
as milk from others tender teat
i have seen the lions of longleat sleep
tossed on horns that honk and beep
through matted manes ive seen them peep
i have seen the vultures of longleat
amid the promises of doom
cloaked in clouds of smoke black plumes
gliding on the petrol fumes
above the marabars half consumed
melting into afternoon
i have seen the baboons
wearily wanking with nothing to do
escape, scraper but where to?
a less humane zoo
with cages and bars
and no cars to break
no crispS and cake
no tooth decay or belly ache
i have seen the lions of longleat
grannies in their passenger seats
through the british summer sleet
i have seen the lions of longleat
over broken bottles on fagburnt feet
marvelled at how fast and fleet
they hunt the flying sweet
i have seen the lions of longleat
in viscount weymouth’s careful keep
who rides his zebra painted jeep
who sells bits of africa cheap
who loses not a minute of sleep
as the gods of the congo watch and weep

John Cooper Clarke


when i was young and in my jeans
and shirt all empire made
i played the national slot machine
and i was never paid
the U.S. kids they rocked and rolled
over here the kids just rolled
on the crest of a brylcreem wave
while jets and sharks went shootin pool
with names like larry and buzz
it was weetabix and off to school
for post war prefab us
suez and conscription
bromide in the tea
the age of non description
rationed by the B.B.C.
woodbines work and wireless
playing mantovani’s strings
they’d service with a smile us
robbery with violins
the gaffer was a bastard
who fought the war with quids
he thought he had us mastered
and i suppose he did
“up yer arse wi yer fuckin job”
said a cinema full of teds
bill haley opened up his gob
and they ripped the place to shreds
for about 2 years they had their fling
and then like any square
they married – did the proper thing
for the slippers and the easy chair
the party political pantomime
its wondrous ways to work
says wedlocked slavery can be mine
i demand the right to smerk
here’s to the Youth Of Britain
YOB let’ say for short
is your future to be a ballpoint pen
on the ration book of thought

John Cooper Clarke



2 thoughts on “John Cooper Clarke – 1976

  1. Russell Thompson

    Wahey! ‘Voices’ continues to yield up its treasures. I love those one-word lines in the first poem – I can just hear him saying the word ‘loom’ …

    Nice one.

  2. Pingback: John Cooper Clarke – Voices | standupandspit

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