hi / I’m from Wisbech / (that’s whizz as in speed / & beach not in sand / but in how the fuck can this be seventeen miles inland?)

Welcome to Wisbech, then! / Capital of the Fens / *er-hem* / I know, I know – it sounds so grand / civically solid & well planned / but no, I’m afraid it’s really not / it’s more like the land that time forgot / or as Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz / because because because / because of the socio-economic situation and stuff / so it’s pumpkins not munchkins / and ‘follow the A1101’ / not that other, brighter, more Technicolour construction / and suddenly you’re there / lying in the Five Bells with straw in your hair / flying monkeys everywhere

so – erm – yeah – Wisbech – Capital of the Fens / (so ludicrous it’s worth saying again) / like they held a ceremony of considerable pomp / for the inauguration of the king of the swamp / still, I suppose everyone needs a catchy title / like maniac needs homicidal / to fully unravel / the horror of your spiritual travel

Welcome to Wisbech – Capital of the Fens / that’s capital as in punishment / for all the souls in featureless torment / on floodplains of abandonment / with a flatline skyline / of turbines & pylons / sirens, violence, two-for-one nylons / broken bridges / midges / fly-tipped fridges / seriously – the attractions are prodigious

Welcome to Wisbech – Capital of the Fens / dragging down the high street in a cloak of farmyard odds & ends / a diadem / cut from an apple box / a couple of raspberry punnets for crocs / and an orb of sprouts stuffed in a football sock

Wisbech, Oh Wisbech! – Capital of the Fens! / gangmaster of piggeries & factory hens / council cuts & overspends / swingers, wringers & brexit bringers / of slow, silty rivers / malarial sweats & shivers / golden eyes & cirrhotic livers / broken vows in broken mirrors / where everyone dreams but only Tesco delivers

Wisbech – My Wisbech – Capital till the End / when climate change will make amends / and orchids & field scabious will bloom / and bitterns boom / and dragonflies hover & zoom / stem to stem / in the deepening, darkening fen / and all will be well in Wisbech again / and me? I’ll be a model of longevity / staggering around at a hundred and seventy / kept alive by medical complexity / just well enough for one last dive / tumbling backwards off the side / as we glide / to a stop / when the instruments detect some sunken shops / way down below us in the black water slops / & I’ll fin my way down with a torch on my head / to illuminate the sports shop owned by Fred / where mum worked cash in hand / half buried now in the silt and the sand / and I’ll part the weeds and I’ll stare through the glass / at the transformation that has come to pass / eel not Fila / minnow not Umbro / pike not Nike / and I’ll smile enigmatically behind my mask / because nature has claimed what was hers at last / and Wisbech is finally cool & romantic / like Doggerland, lost to the Atlantic

(and then no doubt I’ll probably drown / and – by the way? sending an elderly diver down? / in conditions of such poor visibility? / I think you’ll find that’s culpability)

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