For Those Of You Who Don’t Know My Name Is Nello James is about the community centre in Whalley Range which used to be the heart of the community but is now a derelict building.
I am what complacency looks like – a legacy receded.
communal pride has pulled its hamstring so I’m stood
here greying. they named me after him – C.L.R James
a man who showed strength at the hardest of times
in my prime there was a nursery in my belly, circus
lessons on my back, Abasindi drumming on my chest
families parties, knitting… but it is all so quiet now.
call my maintenance graffiti. call my rot a compliment
let me show you my squatter. fly-tip me for my services
to the community. those placards? call them my visitors
out on the streets fighting for me. call it Black Jacobin
and if you don’t know get opposable. this is the age of
it’s all so quiet now. less sirens. less cyclists singing. less
children skipping. less neighbours chit-chattering. we all
know too much. so much that we don’t need to speak so
much that we don’t need to name our buildings after
heroes. we can just Google them as we please